Written by Majorie Liu
Art by Sana Takeda
Review by Steve Seigh
Is there a limit as to how much you would fight for those you love? Do you see yourself as a person who’d be willing to kill others if it would bring you, and the memories that haunt your every sleep, peace? Would you lie, cheat, and deceive your own kind for justice? It’s my guess that these are just a few of the burning questions screaming themselves horse inside of Maika Halfwolf’s head. Sometimes, there’s no limit to what we’re capable of achieving in the name of revenge and peace of mind. In Majorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s Monstress #1, we’re about to learn that no amount of time or magic can heal the deepest of wounds. Sometimes, only blood will suffice.
I’m assuming that you’ve read Monstress #1 if you’re here to read my review. If you haven’t, there’s no need to worry, I won’t spoil anything for you. That said, this is hands down one of the greatest #1 issues of a comic book that I’ve read this year. The lore of it feels rich and thick, a narrative, if you will, that has been bubbling in the back of our creator’s minds for quite some time. The world that Majorie and Sana have established within the pages of just this first issue feels alive, terrible, and populated by characters looking to do us readers harm with their wicked ways. It’s a world of magic, dark sorcery, sorted lineage, and all manner of monsters that are born only from the blackest of shadows. In other words, it’s not a place you’d care to visit if it were real, but safely guarded by the pages of a comic book, I think you’ll be just fine. Maybe.
Monstress #1 left me climbing the walls for more. At a price of $4.99 you get far more than the price of admission. In terms of size, the book feels more like 3 issues of an ad-less, jaw-droppingly gorgeous beginning to a expertly plotted epic. Granted, I agree that the lore – including its many races, factions, and rules – is vast, and perhaps can leave the more casual reader feeling a bit overwhelmed. That said, this is merely the start to something grand, and like any other comic worth its salt will require patience from its audience if it’s to be appreciated for all of its parts.
I personally found the combined talents of Liu and Takeda to be a breath-taking marriage of creativity. It’s not every day that you find words and visuals that compliment each other’s unique styles so completely. I honestly can’t imagine this book existing if it were not for this ingenious – and perhaps magical – pairing. Everything from the cherubic children to the battered citadel streets of Monstress #1 drip with planning and imagination. It’s as if high fantasy made love to the worlds of Jim Henson, Lovecraft, and Grimm – each one reaching out to embrace the touch of the other, in concert, with complete surrender and consent.
Verdict: You’d be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend your $4.99 at the comic shop this week. Monstress #1 has enough magic, mystery, and blood to satiate any fan of high-fantasy and is sure to leave you feeling spellbound.
Monstess #1 Review Soundtrack:
Screamin’ Jay Hawkin’s “I Put a Spell on You”