Thank God! At long last Monstress is back! After taking a few months off to reorganize and get things caught up, one of the tops comics of 2018 is back. When i say one of the best, i do not mean of my opinion. Monstress racked up the 2018 awards. It won 5 Eisner Awards (Best Continuing Series, Best for Teens (13-17), Best Writer – Marjorie Liu, Best Painter/Multimedia Artist and Best Cover Artist – both Sana Takeda. It also won the 2018 Harvey Award for Book of the Year and two Hugo Awards for Best Graphic Story and Best Professional Artist (Sana Takeda).
Monstress As a Title
Yes, This is also my favorite comic today. For those that have not read this title, it is highly suggested. It runs in six issue story arcs, and #19 starts the next story arc; However, this is not an easy book to just pick up. Its depth and richness of characters and story means you will be missing out on a lot and have a ton of questions, but this title is worth grabbing the Trade Paperbacks for the rest of the story.
The one thing i will say is that this is not for the faint of heart per-se. Monstress does a great job of walking the line between gritty and MA. It shows skin, but there are no gratuitous drawings of boobs and sex parts. There is blood when needed, but you wont see guts and gory body parts flying. The worst it goes is a lot of F-bombs, but even the cussing is not out of control.
What i love about this title is – well, everything, but the art by Sana Takeda is incredible. It does a great job using all the colors of the rainbow, yet keeping them dark and muted. There are few bright colors, instead favoring the dark shades, but when brighter colors do appear they are for a reason. All you have to do is look at a couple of covers to see what you get inside. Unlike most comics, there is no drop off between cover and internal art.
What you will get is an incredibly complex web of not only characters, but also species. You have the human Cumaea versus the Arcanics, a diverse group of creatures, some mostly human, some…not. That is part of the beauty of this title. You do not have the tradition group of mystical creatures. Monstress provides a mix of fox/humans, shark/humans, mer-people, cat-people, three tailed cats, demons of unique designs, and much more.
The Characters of Monstress
This book follows Maika as the main character. Maika is a human looking Arcanic who lost an arm. She is possessed by a demon, once god, that inhabits her body. They both work together and fight for control against each other. Maika just saved part of the Arcanic world from both human invasion and demon/god invasion.
The problem is that her friend Kippa, a human/fox hybrid, has been kidnapped. She was betrayed by another companion in Maika’s group, Ren, the three-tailed, nekomancer cat. Story-wise this is one of the simpler issues. Maika and her self-appointed protector, Sir Corvin, a winged human.
Kippa has had an air of importance about her through out this series, but only now do we get a hint why. Kippa was blessed/cursed by an ancient when she was just an infant. For that reason, the necomancers want Kippa alive and unhurt.
Chased By Insanity
The problem is what Maika did do defeat the demon/god coming through the opened portal is now driving the Arcanics insane. A group of humanoid foxes are driven mad and attacks Kippa’s captors. The group is now in a fight for its life.
Maika and Sir Corvin are in pursuit of Kippa, but they too run into a band of insane Arcanics. They manage to fight their way through thanks to Corvin.
Run For It
Kippa manages to escape her captor by claiming to need a potty break. She runs for it, managing to stay just ahead of the rest of the group until she comes upon a large hole. Seeing it as her only choice she jumps.
The drop will not kill Kippa, but apparently the hole is the tomb of Baru, the dead bear king. No one has ever come out.
As I said, this is one of the simpler and non-political issues of the series, but that makes this a great jumping on point. If you have not tried this series, I highly recommend it!