Oh my goodness, why have I just now discovered this lovely graphic novel? I’ve seen the single issue comics in comic book stores, and while it intrigued me, I never bothered to pick it up. But then I heard it was an East Asian-inspired, steampunk-esque, matriarchal fantasy world and hello, yes, I’m hooked.
So I decided to review volume 1 and 2 together. Truthfully, sometimes I struggle with writing a review of a single volume, especially since this is definitely a longer series. Sometimes I feel as if volume one just allows me to touch the surface of the world, while volume 2 drags me under. 😉
Title: Monstress, Vol 1: Awakening; Vol. 2: The Blood
Author(s): Marjorie M. Liu, Sana Takeda (illustrator), Rus Wooton (letterer, designer)
Publisher: Image Comics
Release date: July 19, 2016; July 11, 2017, respectively
Genre: Fantasy, horror, graphic novels, comics
Length: 202 pages, 102 pages, respectively
Synopsis: (from Goodreads): “Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.”
I don’t think anything I say will be able to adequately describe how amazing this series is. Not only is art absolutely stunning, but the world and the story draws you in and doesn’t let go. But this world is dark and gritty, too. The main character, Maika Halfwolf, does not put up with your crap either–not when she has a freakin’ ancient monster living inside her who likes to do what he pleases! Yet its this very monster within her that Maika needs to know more about, and she pretty much put herself in a hard situation in order to find some answers.
Of course, answers lead to more questions. As we follow Maika, the nekomancer (GET IT?!) Master Ren, and the fox-girl named Kippa into unknown territory. Maika comes face to face with the ghost of her mother and even more psychotic monsters.
I’ll admit, though, there were some confusing parts, especially in the first volume. Apparently, there is (was?) a war going on between two different races, the Archani (magical beings who can disguise themselves as humans) and the Cumae, an order of sorceresses who consume (literally) Archani to fuel their power. Crap goes stuff and stuff gets dirty. There are people with multiple eyes and razor sharp teeth! Then there are awesome creatures like tigers and sharks and sirens! Also, did I mention there’s also a religious order of fighting cats? And unicorns instead of horses? Wow, wow, wow.
Get your hands on this series now! You won’t be disappointed! If anything, just stare at the art for hours. *_*
You can purchase Monstress, Vol 1 and 2 on Amazon, Barnes and Noble (B&N has an exclusive cover of Vol 2 here), Book Depository, or IndieBound. I imagine you can find it at some comic book shops and major booksellers, too, especially since comics are on the rise these past few years.