Monstress #31 Review

by Nick Devonald on January 26, 2021

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

Monstress #31 is the start of a brand new story arc, and there has been some pretty major character growth since the last issue. Maika isn’t just sporting a new look, she’s also beginning to come to terms with some of the choices she has to make because of her connection to Zinn. In the past she’s fought against his hunger, trying to suppress it, but as the series has progressed she’s understood that she can only resist it for so long before giving in and unleashing Zinn’s hunger. As we re-enter the series she’s accepted that Zinn needs to feed, and while she is still disgusted by it she’s prepared to let him feed to keep his murderous outbursts at bay. It marks a big change for the character, and really highlights just how she’s changed since we met her way back in the first issue of Monstress.

There really isn’t any other comics that can be compared with this series, it has all the scale and epic-ness of a George R. R. Martin story, but is heavily character driven. It’s never about serving the greater plot, it feels less like Marjorie Liu has plotted out the story and more like she’s invented these incredibly deep, layered characters and then unleashed them onto a fantastically detailed world and stepped back to see what happens next. Of course there will have been a lot of heavy plotting for the story, but it feels much more natural and organic, and less contrived, than a lot of stories do.

It looks like this arc will really focus on Tuya. There has been an almost inevitable confrontation brewing between Maika and Tuya since the very first story arc, and it’s a testament to Liu’s writing that readers are still excited for this and it doesn’t feel overly drawn out. Most of this issue focuses on sending our characters off on their next adventure after the dramatic and horrific events of the past arc, and the siege of Ravenna, as well as teasing what is still to come.

Sana Takeda’s art continues to be one of the highlights of the story. She has such a unique style which is perfectly suited to bringing this incredible world to life. There is an incredible level of detail in each panel, and she brings all of the otherworldliness of this world to life beautifully. It’s such a beautifully realised world that Takeda brings to life on every page. One of the true strengths of this series isn’t just how incredible Liu’s worldbuilding is, it’s the way that Takeda can bring it to life on the page. Some of the vista’s she draws are breath-taking, the characters always look incredible and really wear their suffering on their faces. Some of the Arcanic designs are outstanding and it’s always a joy to see how she makes them feel real and alive on the page.

Another exciting entry in the Monstress saga, this issue marks the start of another incredible chapter in Maika’s story, and promises great things to come. Watching the characters grow and develop over the course of the series has been incredible, and this issue really highlights some of the changes our cast have gone through over the course of the series. As epic and character driven as always, Monstress continues to be one of the best series on the shelf. You need to add this comic to your collection.

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