The creative team of Michael S. Bracco, Oliver Mertz & Mike Isenberg brought The Monuments graphic novel to life thanks to a Kickstarter campaign that smashed through it’s target just about a year ago so I had to get a read of this one.
It’s a sci-fi fantasy book where four warring city-states on the island of Mehndria are forced to put differences aside when the arrival of mysterious giant robots sees losses for everyone. The robots take no prisoners as they almost wipe out the entire civilization on the island but these invaders shutdown and go dormant just as surprisingly as they had arrived with this tory picking up eight hundred years later.
In that time a single city-state has formed and while there are still differing ideas throughout the city on the where’s & why’s of the Mecha’s that litter the landscape as a constant reminder of the relentless attacks. When one of these sleeping giants bursts into life and it’s resident emerges dazed & confused into a much-changed world, it’s the beginning of trying to visit the past to examine how it’s influenced the present starting with the Mecha’s themselves.
The story from the trio has and exceptionally well-polished vibe from it that shows off just how well the collaboration here has worked and the intricacies of the different factions, the past, the present and the mindset of the main players makes sure that this is something different. That is echoed in the art work from Michael that gives a solid individual look to each of the characters that helps show off the attention to detail in everyone and everything involved. The design work in the Mecha’s is crucial in given them a suitably foreboding sense of scale that means they’re menacing whether their in full attack or towering over a city while lying dormant.
Similarly, the colour work from Oliver helps strengthen the sense of time that’s passed and that weight of expectation & the very real struggles that the civilization has faced in order to recover from the attack so long ago enhances the notion that their survival has been well & truly earned. There’s a lot of dialogue & narration as you’d expect in a story that explores the past & present in a sci-fi fantasy setting but Oliver keeps that tight to let the scale of the events breathe from page to page.
The Monuments could almost slide into a “hidden gem” category but with the popularity of it’s fundraising campaign it’s hardly something that feels hidden but it IS a 24-carat gem. It oozes a dual sense of the world across those timescales and with the look & sensibilities of the characters driving things forward it’s hard not to be swept up in a new fantastic fantasy world like this. An epic book to match the scale of those Mecha’s!
Get hold of The Monuments over on Amazon and catch up with the creators on the links below to see their other titles & what’s next: