Comic Review: Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda
Illustrator: Sana Takeda
Published by Image Comics on November 4th 2015
Steampunk meets Kaiju in this original fantasy epic for mature readers, as young Maika risks everything to control her psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, placing her in the center of a devastating war between human and otherworldly forces.
Monstress is absolutely stunning comic with a dark story and artwork that is simply gorgeous. I really can’t stress enough how much I loved all the imagery. I will readily admit to being a complete novice when it comes to comics, having read pretty much just Saga and Locke and Key, but even as a novice I feel secure in saying that this is one comic that you just can’t miss. Even if you are not into comics, it is worth picking up, maybe discover a love for a different style of story telling. And, as an added bonus (because quite frankly I would want to read this just for the art), the story is definitely quite intriguing as well.
Maika may look human, but there is more to her than originally meets the eye. We are introduced to her as she is being auctioned off as a monster, the auctioneer touting her unique human appearance. The only flaw they mention her missing half an arm. So, we have a beautiful protagonist with a disability, labeled as a monster and a mysterious background! Definitely peaked my interest.
In this first issue, we are introduced to a fantastic world that is portrayed with breathtaking images. We get glimpses of others “monsters” with Maika, we can see they are not human, but variances among them look very cool. And the fox girl? She is absolutely adorable. I will admit, I left this first issue felling like I am not fully understanding where these individuals come from or what their abilities may be. I just know they are not human and are sold as slaves. I really want to learn more about who and what they are, and what makes the humans feel entitled to treat them as a commodity rather than actual people with rights, so I will continue to read in hopes of getting answers. The first issue is only 72 pages, and is not meant to answer all the questions, its meant to be an introduction and leave you wanting more. And it strongly succeeded at that.
Maika comes across as very strong, a woman with a past that we’ve yet to really learn about. A woman who has secrets and has powers that she can tap into. And a woman who will not hesitate to kill when she needs to. She may have been sold as a slave at auction, but she certainly is not submissive. Pretty much she is the rather kick ass type of character that I love.
As much as I focused on the beauty of this comic, I should mention it is also brutal. The imagery is captivating, but can also be bloody and violent. If gore and violence are bothersome or disturbing for you, then just be warned you will find a bit of that. This is a mature comic and as such is intended for a mature audience.
Overall, I found Monstress to be a wonderful balance of beauty and darkness. This first issue left me feeling like I’ve just been introduced to Maika and her world. I have more questions, but I see them as reasons to read on and watch for that next issue! Highly recommend.
This review was originally posted on The Speculative Herald.