Monstress #25 Review

by Nick Devonald on January 29, 2020

Writer: Marjorie Liu
Art: Sana Takeda
Letters: Rus Wooton

After what felt like an incredibly long six month hiatus Monstress is back. I don’t know where to start with this review. Like every issue that has come before the art is incredible, truly breathtaking. Then there is the story that Marjorie Liu has crafted here. Epic doesn’t even come close to describing it. The closest I can come to comparing it to anything would be Game of Thrones for the scale of the story being told here. But that is an injustice. This leaves anything George R. R. Martin has done far, far behind.

Although while we’re mentioning George R. R. Martin there’s another similarity, the wait between issues is painful. And while it might only be a month at a time (six month gaps aside) with the size of the story being told here we only get a little snippet at a time. I wish I’d discovered this series many years later, after it finishes, and I could shut myself off from the world and read it in its entirety. In the oversized hardcover format that the first three trades have been collected in. And in case it’s not clear that’s a compliment. This series is truly incredible. This is a story that will appeal to people who don’t read comics, it’s so well told and drawn. Look at all the awards it’s won over the years. I won’t list them but there’s a LOT.

Anyway I’m finding myself distracted from the issue at hand here. It follows in the aftermath of the bomb being unleashed on Aurum in the last issue. The world is preparing for war.
Sana Takeda’s art is truly breathtaking. Liu might be writing the story but it’s Takeda’s art that brings it to life on the page. And it makes it all the more impressive when you realise she’s single handedly taking on all the art duties. She has to be one of the most talented comic book artists out there. In fact if it wasn’t for her skill in bringing Liu’s world to life I would suggest this story might be better told as a novel. But with Takeda bringing it to life like she does I would never even suggest it.

From the first page, a full page focusing on Maika, we’re pulled straight back into the story as if we’d never gone anywhere. Then the issue doesn’t let up until it’s final page. From a single panel focusing solely on Maika it’s incredible how much story can be told by just the art. How much emotion can be conveyed. This is a great example of how a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s set six years before at the Battle of Constantine and does a great job of showing how Maika becomes the woman she is for the first issue of this series.

I don’t think this is the kind of comic you can just pick up on a whim and read and follow along. You need to read it from the beginning to really appreciate it. There’s such a deep, complex world slowly being built up in these pages. And at no point is the reader taken by the hand and guided through the world, you need to figure it out as you go along. Which is one of the strengths of the series. So if you’ve heard good things about Monstress (You won’t have heard bad, I can guarantee it) and fancied picking this issue up to see what all the fuss is about… don’t. By all means grab this issue but you need to go back to the start to follow the story. And I can’t recommend that enough. This is such an incredible story you NEED to be reading it. And if you’ve been following along from #1 you don’t need a recommendation from me to buy this, you’ll already have grabbed a copy and be read up on it.

We have such complex characters, with different motivations and goals, that are all so well rounded. A complex and well thought out world. I can’t heap enough praise onto this series. And while this is only the first issue in this next 6 issue arc and spends a lot of time setting up what our various characters are up to it’s absolutely captivating from beginning to end, and the 30 pages are over before you know it. Epic in a way no other comic comes close to, fantastic art and storytelling, you need to be reading this series.

Our Score:


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