Sometimes what makes a story memorable is not just the apocalyptic event itself but the aftermath. How would the people of our world react? Would we dare to still call one another enemies? Or would we put our differences aside for the greater good and the survival of our species? That's just the world that the indie comic The Monuments creates. The brain child of Michael S. Bracco, Oliver Mertz, and Mike Isenberg tells the story about how robotic invaders came to our world 800 years ago and how this has dramatically affected us.
With Oliver Mertz on writing duty, the story flows in the beginning without a hitch. Then there is a particular road block that throws the flow for me. Mertz opens up Monuments with a brief history of the world and mythology. As previously stated, this takes place 800 years after this invasion and war for survival. There's a brief moment where we are taken back to the near end of the war and then re-launched forward to the present. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this sequence. The problem lies within the subplot. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish whether the story is being told in modern times or not. Honestly, it can be quite confusing and leaves the book feeling unfocused. When the story is definitively within the present age of the book, its strength is undeniable. The weaving together of a mysterious stranger and intriguing lore give the book a satisfying Sci-fi voice. The mystery of the book keeps the story grounded in realism, while latching its roots to the sci-fi genre.
The art takes those sci-fi elements and elevates them. Michael S. Bracco on art duty allows the story to take on a life of it's own. Carrying the visual medium, Bracco gives this world an interesting feel. The character design of the invaders appear like they walked off the set of Forbidden Planet. The character design of some of the humans feels a bit confusing because they tend to wear attire from different eras together in the same panels. For me, this adds to the mystery of when the story takes place. Some characters feel modern, where others feel like they walked out of a Robin Hood movie.
Overall, The Monuments, is a sci-fi tale that has satisfying elements but feels lost at times. Story telling techniques that tell both past and present without deciphering between the two give the story a bit of an unfocused voice. There are elements of the art that add to it as well. When the storytelling is mostly focused, its strength is in spades. Art by Bracco elevates the book to new levels.
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