DC unveils Monkey Prince, rundown of stories & creators for FESTIVAL OF HEROES special

Comics

Next month DC Comics is set to release DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration, a new anthology featuring the publisher’s Asian characters in stories by creators of Asian descent. Now DC has released a breakdown of the creators, stories, and characters included in the special one-shot, and teased a new hero, Monkey Prince, who will make his first appearance in the issue.

Created by Gene Luen Yang and Bernard Chang, Monkey Prince will encounter Shazam in a twelve-page story in the special. According to the publisher Monkey Prince is “inspired by the Monkey King, legendary hero of Chinese mythology and the classic tale Journey to the West.” In addition to the story introducing him, Monkey Prince will also appear on a 1-in-25 incentive variant cover for the issue featuring artwork by Chang, shown above. The publisher also unveiled more of Chang’s design artwork for the story, featuring characters Marcus and Shifu Pigsy.

A humanoid pig in a Hawaiian shirt and cargo shorts is something I never knew I needed in my life, so thank you very much for that.

Here’s a description of Monkey Prince’s debut story, as well as an almost-full breakdown of all the other stories and creators featured in DC Festival of Heroes, which also includes the first mainline comic book appearance of Green Lantern: Legacy‘s Tai Pham:

In Yang and Chang’s original 12-page story, “The Monkey Prince Hates Superheroes,” Monkey Prince battles and teams up with Shazam to defeat both the evil Dr. Sivana and a Chinese deer demon spirit!

“Masks” – Ram V, writer of Catwoman, Justice League Dark,and The Swamp Thing, teams up with Audrey Mok, the artist of Sera and the Royal Stars, to tell a story featuring Jade Nguyen, a.k.a. Cheshire. Tying into V’s Catwoman run, Selina Kyle’s protégé Shoes has visions of being rescued as a child by Cheshire. Shoes takes these visions as a sign, donning a mask, taking the name “Cheshire Cat,” and asking Selina Kyle to train her. But is Catwoman ready to take on a sidekick?

“Sounds” – Detective Comics writer and Eisner Award winner Mariko Tamaki (Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass) and artist Marcus To team up to tell a story featuring Cassandra Cain, a.k.a. Batgirl. Batgirl struggles to understand words, but with her ability to read body language and uncanny fighting skills, she really doesn’t have to…until she meets someone and wishes that she had the right words—ANY words—to say to them!

“What’s in the Box?” – Cassandra Cain steps into the spotlight once more, but this time with Colin Wilkes, a.k.a. Abuse (who first appeared in Detective Comics #947, October 2008), courtesy of words and art by Dustin Nguyen. Abuse finds Batgirl sitting by a bridge, upset by a comment made by Damian Wayne.

“Dress Code” – Green Lantern Tai Pham makes his first comic book debut in this story by Green Lantern: Legacy writer Minh Lê with artist Trung Le Nguyen. Green Lantern is fighting with Arkillo, and the villain taunts him for his costume “looking like a dress.” This reminds Tai of a memory with his dead grandmother who he inherited his powers from.

“Festival of Heroes” – In a story by writer Amy Chu and artist Marcio Takara influenced by current headlines, Katana, Cyborg, and Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes) are asked to safeguard an Asian American and Pacific Islander community celebration against potential violence from a white supremacist group. But the heroes are quickly reminded that you don’t need capes, masks, or even special abilities to be a hero.

“Hawke & Kong” – Writer Greg Pak and artist Sumit Kumar team up on a story spotlighting the return of onetime Green Arrow Connor Hawke and Kong Kenan, also known as New Super-Man. Connor and Kenan need to do some quick thinking when a gift for Connor’s Korean aunt gets damaged in a battle with a dragon!

“Special Delivery” – Master of None writer Aniz Ansari makes his comic book debut with artist Sami Basri in this story featuring Robin (Damian Wayne). As Robin ponders about his heritage, he slowly discovers that something about this pizza place seems off…

“Kawaii Kalamity!” Shadow of the Batgirl writer Sarah Kuhn and illustrator Victoria Ying (Diana: Princess of the Amazons) tell a story about Red Arrow’s reluctance of enjoying “kawaii” things because of people’s general assumptions of what she likes simply based on her Japanese heritage.

“Family Dinner” – Amazon juggernaut Grace Choi has to meet her girlfriend Anissa Pierce’s dad for dinner. But when your girlfriend is Thunder, that means meeting the parents is that much more stressful because her father is Black Lightning!

“Perceptible” – The Good Asian duo of Pornsak Pichetshote (writer) and Alexandre Tefenkgi (artist) tell a tale featuring The Atom (Ryan Choi) trying to defeat a microscopic robot sent from the future…to save our reality as we know it!

Lots of good stuff here. I’m never going to complain about multiple Cassandra Cain stories, and a Connor Hawke/Kenan Kong team-up is pretty exciting as well. It’s also exciting to see Grace Choi return, even if we don’t know who the creators for that story will be, as I don’t believe she’s been seen in nearly a decade, since before the New 52 started.

Speaking of Cass Cain, DC also unveiled another variant cover for the issue, this one appearing to be open-to-order, by Stanley “ArtGerm” Lau featuring the character.

The DC Festival of Heroes one-shot is set to arrive in stores on Tuesday, May 11th.

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