Monstress #28 Review

by Nick Devonald on June 23, 2020

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

This issue stands apart from previous issues because of the absence of Maika Halfwolf, with the exception of the initial few pages where we, as per previous issues, flashback to the battle of Constantine. Each flashback seems to provide us with more answers and even more questions, and this one was no different. It does feel, however, that we’re close to getting some real answers now. The last issue teased us with some revelations for Zinn, now we’re getting close to the moment in Constantine where Zinn’s power was unleashed for the first time.

So with the absence of Maika the focus of this issue is Kippa, who’s been Maika’s loyal sidekick throughout the series. It’s nice to focus on Kippa instead, and we get to see the true depth of her here, how optimistic and altruistic she is. Throughout the series Kippa has acted as a conscience of sorts for Maika, and it’s nice to spend a bit of time with her and understand just how selfless she is. We’re also learning that there is much more to her than first appearances suggested, each issue subsequently reveals a few more details about Kippa and it’s beginning to appear that she’s going to be just as important to the overall story as Maika. It’s also a real strength of the writing from Marjorie Liu that she can take the main character away from the narrative and still craft an excellent story that is none the worse off for her absence, however Maika’s absence is felt by the end of the issue and it leaves the reader eagerly looking forward to her inevitable return in the next issue.

Having the issue focusing on Kippa is a great way to show the horror and destruction of war, while this series has never shied away from showing us the senselessness of the fighting seeing it from Kippa’s more compassionate nature makes it feel even more horrific somehow.

One of the great strengths of the series has been the way it takes things at its own pace. It’s hard to imagine other series taking as long for the battle of Ravenna to begin. Once the federation army had reached the gates it would have been straight into the battle. Here, Marjorie Liu tells the story as it unfolds naturally and organically. The threat of an all out battle has been ever present, it builds a real sense of tension and infuses each issue with menace. As this issue concludes though the promise of a climatic battle seems set to be fulfilled.

Sana Takeda’s art has been absolutely incredible throughout. It’s impossible to imagine any other artist bringing this fantastical world to life in the same way, there’s an energy and incredible attention to detail in each panel that really makes this series, and is every bit as integral to the comic as the incredible overarching plot that Liu’s writing produces. The Cumaean witches introduced at the end of the last issue are just the latest in a long list of incredible designs that Takeda has created for this comic, and they look fantastic in this issue. There’s a beautiful monstrousness to most of the creatures in this world that Takeda brilliantly creates.

The scope of the world and the plot in Monstress is truly incredible. The worldbuilding and storytelling is on a whole other level, it elevates it above most comics to a level usually reserved for the most epic of fantasy novels. The art is truly spectacular and is just as intricately crafted as the outstanding story. Liu manages to get the balance right with constantly drip feeding the reader new answers even while introducing yet more questions and mysteries. It doesn’t shy away from the horrors of war, rather it embraces it with the storytelling. A truly epic story.

Our Score:


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