Published on June 1st, 2017 | by Dana Folkard
MONSTRESS #12 REVIEW
Summary: An epic and gripping end to the second story arc.
The final and harrowing issue of the second story arc! With the horrible knowledge that the blood of the Shaman-Empress flows through her veins, Maika and her companions are desperately trying to flee the Isle of Bones. However, the evil Blood Fox won’t let them go without a fight!
This issue begins back on the Isle of Bones with Maika and her companions trying to flee the Blood Fox. The Fox possesses strange powers that can influence their minds, infiltrating their thoughts and filling it with dark illusions that serve only to confuse and upset them. For the first time in this story we see the Monstrum vulnerable and exposed, as it tries to come to terms with the betrayal it committed against its own kind. The Fox uses this vulnerability to his advantage, plaguing the creature with horrifying visions and hallucinations. However, in a rare and powerful moment we see Maika and the Monstrum stand together as one, to face the evil that pursues them. After an intense fight with the Fox, they escape and make their way back to the shore of the island where they encounter the mysterious Ferryman. Still a powerful and menacing presence, the Ferryman agrees to grant them safe passage but not without its complications. Finally, away from the island and the cursed fog, Maika and her companions breathe a sigh of relief, however, unknown to them, there is someone else waiting for their arrival.
Here we are, at the end of the second story arc and what a fantastic way to end! This is such an intense issue of Monstress, filled with spine-tingling moments, dark truths that are revealed and interesting plot developments. Marjorie Liu cleverly weaves a twisted tale about Maika’s past, and with all the pieces of the puzzle coming together, it has me incredibly intrigued for what comes next. I found it interesting to see the Monstrum vulnerable and exposed for the very first time, and this development results in an interesting and new dynamic forming between the Monstrum’s and Maika. I really need to applaud Liu for her clever character development of not just Maika, but a number of the key characters. We see them all go through some interesting changes that have some way influenced the shape of the narrative. I also love the Blood Fox, in all his vile and menacing glory. Scary, insane and despicable, he is an excellent villain that really pushed Maika and the Monstrum to the edge of madness, as he toys with their minds and emotions.
Sana Takeda’s art is once again exquisite and faultless. She perfectly captures both the beauty and horror of these characters, exposing them for what they really are. Once again, a favourite of mine is the Blood Fox, with his face frozen in a mad and menacing grimace. Whilst Takeda draws such beauty, it’s the grotesque abominations that she draws that I love the most. There is also a lovely sense of energy that moves throughout the panels, and this combined with the way the page layouts makes the entire visual narrative flow in an effortless way. I also enjoy the small details, like the beautifully intricate patterns on the fabric of the clothes, the overlaying scales on the Monstrum to the dishevelled and windswept hair of Maika. The colouring also brings a sense of magic and mystery to the story, as the pages glow with a luminous quality. It also helps to heighten the overall mood of the story, delivering a heavy dose of moody lighting that amplifies the dark nature of the narrative.
Overall, I must say that I enjoyed this issue. I felt like it was a compelling and though-provoking conclusion to the second story arc. Dark, intense and engaging, Maika’s journey continues to develop in an interesting way, that is both intriguing and filled with surprises. I recommend grabbing a copy ASAP and enjoy the wild ride.
I’m giving this issue 5 out of 5 stars!
WRITER: Marjorie Liu
ARTIST: Sana Takeda
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
PUBLICATION DATE: May 31, 2017
REVIEWER: Dana Folkard