Written by Marjorie Liu
Art by Sana Takeda
Monstress is a great story about growing up in a war torn country during a time of great racism and prejudice. The story so far has some mystery behind it, but what we’ve been given so far is a beautiful tale of a girl struggling with the monster inside her (literally) while running away from her past. Sana Takeda’s beautiful painted anime inspired art is the true standout from this series.
We open on Maika and the monster inside her, attacking an assassin sent to kill her. After the assassin’s arm is tore off, the monster retreats inside Maika. This is not a symbiotic relationship, as Maika wants the monster out and the monster is confused and furious why Maika is holding on to her. Many thought Maika was dead, but it turns out her mother saved her by sacrificing another child. Marjorie Liu has done a unique thing but making most of the characters female. She’s removed gender from the equation and is showing that every gender has bad and good people. There is no more male vs. female in this conflict, but female vs. female. Even with the loss of males in central roles, the country is still in civil war. Liu is showing us that deep down we are all the same human beings and all share the same flaw regardless of gender.
Liu has a strong couple of panels where a guard and commanding officer take Emila’s (a woman who has been helping Maika and Little Fox) baby while they question her. The commanding officer, Da’Chang, takes the baby and places it above a baton while Se’Vana holds the baton still. You can see Se’Vana struggle with this choice, but Da’Chang has no conflict with it. She’s ready to take this baby’s life if Emila won’t speak. A distraction happens and Se’Vana saves the baby at the last moment. Even though they are both on the same side of war, their ideals are not align. No character is one dimensional in this comic. Liu so far has been great about showing how the war has affected these people. Takeda’s art is also beautiful in both the grander monster panels or the quieter panels, such as the one I just mentioned.
Monstress is still progressing with a unique tale about this civil war between the Cumea, our sorceresses, and the Arcanics. Takeda seems to be getting better each issue with her great anime painted style. I’m excited to learn more about Maika and the monster she’s trapped inside her.
Marvin’s Rating – 8/10