Words cannot begin to describe how much I loved Monstress: everything beginning with the graphics, to the characters, to the plot, all the love.
This steam punk style graphic novel centers around Maika, a mysterious teenage girl, who is struggling to find answers about her past. Set in a fantastical world of arcanic people and ancients, this story deals in mystery, magic, and mayhem.
I need to start with the drawing style because that’s what drew me in first. The drawing is exactly my taste, it is intricate, colorful, and detailed. Like something out of a fantasy dream, the images captivate you and serves you a visual treat.
In terms of plot, we are thrown headfirst into this complicated world. It’s like we’ve walked into a movie half way and are racing to figure out what happened in the first half. Why is there a person walking around with only half a body, a magical demon alien, and a cat? We aren’t thrown many life jackets, and are in for a rough, but stunning ride. Because of this, you may want to reread this afterwards, and, believe me, you’ll want to anyway.
While the drawing style may have drawn me in, the characters definitely kept me. Let’s start with my favorite elements: the cats. There are so many cute cats. There are character cats, a professor cat, and kittens too. And Kippa is half fox, so that’s pretty close and it’s all just so much cuteness. That being said, the immense cuteness is also juxtaposed with some graphic violence, people’s heads chopped off, you know, all the things that would happen. And then cats!
But Maika’s character and backstory is fascinating. It’s largely a mystery, which is a large part of the plot. But it’s interwoven with all this lore, all these fascinating creatures, and this immensely complicated history. I don’t feel like I know Maika a lot, even though I do empathize with her and like her, so I am excited to see her in Volume 2.
What’s even more beautiful, is the way Monstress speaks to us today. The human conflicts of greed, love, and sacrifice are played out in a fantastic world. It speaks to how we categorize our enemies, how we turn them into monsters, and the necessity to see beyond this instinct. It is a battle for power that will define the date of the world on a grand scale: the reckoning that has been coming ever since before the war. When you pick up Monstress prepare yourself for loveable characters, complex enemies, and a bad ass heroine. It’s a story of adventure, mystery, and revenge.
What’s your favorite graphic novel?
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