Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Sana Takeda
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Jennifer M. Smith
If you’ve ever wanted a deep and intricate fantasy tale that delves into social and political tensions not unlike our reality,wrapped up in a spellbinding otherworldly atmosphere, then this is the comic for you. This oversized, 60+ page wonderoffers so much content its mind blowing. It has epic-world building, over the top action and a protagonist whose backstory could fill a densely packed trade. Again, this is onlythe first issue!
If there’s one thing I haven’t mentioned however, it’s the fact that this comic is no walk in the park. It’s sombre and unflinching in its approach, depicting a world abundant with war, injustice, slavery and prejudice. Yet despite that darkness the world itself along with the characters are beautifully drawn, with strong attention to detail. This in my opinion as an aspiring artist, is one of this comics many strong points. Takeda’s ability to finely draw well fashioned interior design and costumes elegantly adds to this story’s atmosphere. It figuratively shines in its unique complexity and if there’s an artist worth writing a whole essay about it’s this one. But I digress… moving on!
Now the story! (My goodness the story). I recommend maximum immersion when you pick this up, it’s rich in history and incredibly heavy. I mean it, go into this blind and be ready to be hooked. By all means the less you know about this story the better the experience, so bear with me while I explain why the comic is simply put, “amazing”.
It’s definitely rare to see a book as well conceived as this. In fact so much detail is explained through the dialogue, art and flashbacks that the world starts to feel like a familiar and sad place. We follow the Protagonist Maika Halfwolf, the cover girl of #1, who’s something of an enigma. However, it’s this mystery surrounding Maika that compelled me and kept me reading. I mean besides the fact that she’s bad as heck, that’s what makes Maika such a great character. And yes! You readthat right, Maika is a strong female character. Bottom line is,this book strives on its diverse, mostly female cast. At first this seems like a revenge story, but as the story unfolds we find out more about Maika’s mission and the war between humans and a race of fantastical, diverse and otherworldly people. A war, which by the way is very realistically portrayed out of necessity; and contrasts with how wonderful the lore and world around them actually is, or should be. So be warned it can be fairly disturbing in its themes, and it’s no holds barred as it explores the topic and it does it superbly. My only gripe with this story is the reality that it ends… in a cliff-hanger, but an interesting one nonetheless.
Monstress #1, is dark and it’s clear that Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda are not fooling around with the themes they’re trying to explore. It’s a fascinating story that looks beautiful on its surface but is filled with mystery and horrific tensions in its storytelling; and quite frankly, one you won’t be able to turn away from once you pick it up.
All in all, with it already being one of my favourite comics within its year of release, I’d say you should give this one a BUY.