By Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
Monstress made a major splash with its debut issue and rightfully so (see our issue #1 review here). Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda introduced readers to a fresh, inventive world with compelling characters and an intricate plot. Word quickly spread about how much potential this comic has and how pivotal it can be. It’s no surprise that readers are clamoring for the next installment. It may not be 66 pages, but issue two still packs a punch.
The story left off with Maika Halfwolf being overtaken by a beastly hunger under the shade of the moon as a cat with two tails spoke ominous words. Now, she, along with companions, seeks refuge and answers to events that transpired previously. New adversaries are introduced and are out to find the beautiful Arcanic. Maika continues to struggle with inner turmoil and her past against a world that is inching closer to another war…
It was a brilliant move to have such an extensive premiere book to set-up the majority of the context and characters because the series can then hit the ground running. Yes, this issue does introduce several new intriguing figures such as the two-tailed cat known as Ren (a new personal favorite), but Liu makes sure that the focus is not pulled from Maika and her plight. There is so much of the extraordinary in this comic, but what she goes through and her journey is very real; it’s the core and hook for readers, as it should be. Marjorie writes the dialogue with a precision and grace that covers so much material, but doesn’t confuse or bog down the audience. Each character has a specific voice that comes through loud and clear. One can’t ask for much more.
Takeda continues to deliver outstanding visual storytelling. Issue one was a great introduction to her work and what she will be bringing to the table with Monstress. The facial expressions convey every necessary emotion. They are not exaggerated or heightened, just natural, and that strengthens the connection with the audience. Her coloring is soft and never covers the details of her pencils/inks; everything is rendered beautifully. One would be hard-pressed to find a single panel that stands out because every page is a sight to experience. An experience that can only be seen first-hand.
Page for page, this title delivers on every level. These two creators have done and will more than likely continue to do something visionary. There are only two issues out, so there is no excuse to pass on this gem of sequential art.