Trade-Back Tuesday Edition
Monstress: Volume One “Awakening”:
Contains issues 1-6
Original Release Date: November 2016
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Sana Takeda
Lettering and Design: Rus Wooton
Wowee! There is a lot to unpack in this amazing volume! From original lore to warring species, this epic fantasy seems to dabble into bits of everything in this eclectic and well written comic. Monstress follows the adventures of the fleeing Arcanic (half-breed) teenager, Miaka Halfwolf, who lives in the Arcanic Realms. Her initial missions is to seek out what exactly happened to her late mother but, upon invading and utterly slaughtering the enemy compound of the Cumaean Chapter of the Human Federation, she discovers more than she ever knew. Her actions within the Human Federation sparks conflict in the long held truce between the humans and the arcanes, and certain war is impending. As for Miaka Halfwolf, herself, she is a strange and gifted child, who ends up being a host-body for an unknown horror. As she tries to control the horror within her, she is also engaged in fleeing from multiple organizations, including the ancient ones, the witch-nuns of the Cumaean Chapter, and soldiers from the Human Federation who all wish her dead. Through allies, some benevolent and some not so much, she winds up captured by the ancient ones and put into a deep sleep. When she awakens, true hell is unleashed as she wields the power of the great horror that has been resting inside her.
I utterly enjoyed reading this volume. The writers did an amazing job integrating lore and mythology within the universe that is easy to follow for the readers. Little blurbs at the end of each issue easily explain the political, social, and supernatural conflicts that are found within the story in a cute fashion; narrated by a necromancer cat by the name of Professor Tam Tam. These little history lessons broaden the world that Monstress takes place in and really ads additional depth to the underlying conflicts in the story.
The art is absolutely incredible and was the first thing to really capture my attention. Inspired by Art Nouveau, Steampunk, and historical mythological art, such as ancient Egyptian wall paintings, unicorns, and Japanese Nekojin, Monstress models a beautiful integration of various artistic styles that can be found throughout the world. The characters are drawn cleanly and the panels flow so well, I did not once get confused with how the dialogue progressed. Truly, this book contains a lot of panels that are poster-worthy.
I highly recommend this volume to anyone who loves seeing a mixture of cultures and artistic styles molded together to create a beautiful world full of conflict, war, fight-scenes, blood and supernatural horror. Monstress takes comic book art to a different category; one all of its own.