monstress vol. 1: awakening
majorie m. liu
illustrator: sana takeda
Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.
Publisher: image comics
Publication Date: july 19th 2016
Child and Animal Slavery/Abuse, Blood, Gore, Mutilation, Unwilling Experimentation
I don’t even know how to describe this plot. A girl looking for answers? A monster is inside her? Missing memories? A war between two races? This is one you have to experience yourself. And I highly encourage it. I laughed, I was horrified, I was entertained.
This world was gory and brutal and dark. Yet the art style made it strangely beautiful? It was soft yet striking at the same time? (Okay, I’ll shut up now). But the portrayal of multiple sides of the war, seeing the different motivations of each sector involved, the length these people would go to, it was intense.
I won’t lie, for a while during reading, I was confused. So much was being introduced very quickly and it took a while to catch up. I was hit left and right with scenes that shocked the hell out of me. Mutilation, gore, child slavery and all of it was graphic. But damn it, I was into this story. It’s rare for everything as a whole to catch my interest and not just the characters.
However, these characters were so very intriguing. The morally grey, the outright villainous, even the naive all kept my attention. They had me reading this volume at the pace of a snail just so I wouldn’t miss anything (as well as the art style, but we already talked about that). Maika as our disabled (she’s missing an arm) main character was someone who stayed ambiguous yet rootable at the same time. We’re learning with her and her morally grey actions had me supporting her. I was especially interested in her dynamic with the… thing that’s inside of her. I have high hopes that this will be a journey and the end will be full of respect and friendship (the friendship thing is kind of stretching, I won’t lie).
And as much of a page stealer Maika was, all of the side characters were,too. We have queer side characters, bystanders, Kippa ❤ While I was writing my notes, they were full of me saying Kippa is so cute over and over again. Because she is. The cutest thing. Ever.
Click here for spoilery contemplation and a lot of side eyeing …
Look, I don’t trust Tuya. That ending with her and all of the people Maika met on her journey… and the foreboding line… I don’t think she’s looking for her to help and reunite. And I feel the betrayal that is imminent is going to send Maika down a dark hole that going to be rough to see and sad…
This is only the first volume, so I’m expecting to delve into these characters and this world more. Especially Rusak… I want him to be an ally… And a bit more in depth look into how things got to where they are now. But for now, I am here for this story and I want them to be happy (again, I’m reaching
let me reach).