Monstress Volume 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu & Sana Takeda
This collection, Volume One of Monstress, is fantastic. The artwork and story work seamlessly to build a unique and well-developed world. As an avid fantasy reader, I was very happy to see the cultural and political world-building in this collection. Graphic novels, (in my albeit limited experience) often allow the art to stand in for complete narrative development, often to the detriment of the story. Monstress, however, really delivers. Steampunk meets high fantasy in this tale of a dystopian realm where the made battle the born for freedom and equality. Like many other stories making the rounds, this one features a heroine upon whose shoulders lies the weight of countless lives, those already taken and those in danger of being taken too soon. In the post-war lull, where an uneasy peace maintains a border. Maika, an Arcanic, does not want to save anyone. Her mission is vegeance, yet when confronted with the immediate suffering of her fellow prisoners, she takes up the torch and, though vengeance is served, and so very satisfactorily, Maika finds a better path to walk, fighting to save, at least a few of her fellow Arcanics. Like any well designed beginning, this first volume sees Maika take her revenge, save children from a life of eugenics-based experimentation and torture, and discover a long-hidden family secret. Then, as a final twist, a classic cliffhanger, we are offered a glimpse of the imperfection of our heroine, her driving need, her sliver of evil against which she fights so hard…
An absolutely amazing beginning, I cannot wait (literally, I’ve already purchased it) to continue on this journey, to see what other ingenuity comes through in the next volume.
Published July 19th 2016 by Image Comics