10:00 am EDT, October 11, 2015

‘Monstress’ comic book review: Equal parts cute and gruesome

Ready for something a little different? Monstress is the first issue in a comic book series about magic, slavery, revenge, and the darkness within.

monstress cover

Monstress, written by Marjorie Liu and illustrated by Sana Takeda, is about women of all shapes, sizes, and dispositions. Some of them are slaves, and some are the slave-drivers. Some are consumed by monsters, while some of them are the monsters.

Taking place in the early 1900s in an alternate universe, the world is overrun with Leviathans possessing supernatural powers many people would love to get their hands on. Maika, our hero, bonds with one of these monsters, making her a target for those who want that power for themselves.

But that bond comes at a terrible price, and her newfound power could either save humanity…or end it.

‘Monstress’ comic book review

Monstress is, without a doubt, something entirely different. Putting aside the story for a moment, the illustrations are gorgeously crafted in a style that lends itself to the horror Maika experiences, and yet they are so beautiful you can’t help but stare in wonder.

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Juxtaposed with these images of death are adorable creatures like the tiny fox child, who holds her tail like a security blanket. These moments, ironically enough, add just enough humanity to allow you to digest the terrible acts found within the pages.

Tuya and Maika Contemplating a Mystery Monstress #1

And just like the art, the story does not shy away from the gruesome. Our main character is missing part of an arm, and the deaths she arranges on her path to vengeance are slow, bloody, and visceral. Just like Maika, Monstress has a pretty face, but make no mistake that beneath the surface it harbors an intense darkness.

The rules of the world reveal themselves slowly, though that adds to the mystery of the story more than hinders it. With issue 2, we can only hope Maika’s past will become more apparent. And we hope that whatever monster inside her can be controlled — for her sake, as well as everyone else’s.

Monstress will be available to pre-order tomorrow. Add it to your Goodreads list. The supersized first issue will hit store shelves on November 4.

Will you be checking out ‘Monstress’ by Marjoie Liu and Sana Takeda?

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