Published on May 29th, 2016 | by Dana Folkard
MONSTRESS #6 Review (Image Comics – Liu/Takeda)
Summary: Monstress is filled with mysteries and unresolved conflicts!
An enjoyable read!
This is the issue of Monstress I’ve been waiting for, the gripping finale to Marjorie Liu’s first story arc. Monstress #6 begins where the previous issue left off. Maika has been captured by the mysterious Dusk Court and is imprisoned in an ancient device that is used to contain immensely powerful beings, called a Naraka sarcophagus. We quickly learn that the Dusk Court intend to kill Maika and destroy the fragment of the mask that she has in her possession. Things don’t go to plan as the Cumaea, lead by the menacing Mother Superior and her coven of Inquisitrixes ambush the Dusk Court to reclaim Maika and the fragment of the mask.
What I find so interesting about this issue is the concluding revelations and plot twist reveals. So far we have only learnt about the origins of the war and the cataclysmic event that happened at the Battle of Constantine through snippets of conversations and vague recollections. So for the first time, more questions are answered and a greater understanding of some of these mysteries is achieved. In Maika’s unconscious state, the Monstrum is able to roam freely through her memories and we are guided through these memories by the recursive awareness of Maika. The Monstrum is inquisitive and keen to understand why Maika is so hunted and what makes her uniquely different from its previous hosts.
It is during these memory sequences that we finally see Maika literally face her inner monster. Throughout the previous issues we have been watching her grow and learn how to work with and contain the Monstrum within her. We also see the relationship between these two progress, as they both start to understand one another. This personal enlightenment that Maika experiences delivers her onto a path where she can finally see some hope and light through the despair and darkness. It feels like we are watching her discover a new understanding about her place in this world and how she can ultimately shape and form her own destiny.
So this all leads to the climactic end, where we see Maika wake from her forced hibernation to finally come face to face with the Mother Superior. Maika is a picture of unparalleled strength and beauty juxtaposed next to the Mother Superior, who is both terrifying and hideous to look at. This issue is fast paced as we jump back and forth from intense action scenes, filled with fighting and devastating chaos, to the strange and eerie quiet of reliving the ghostly memories of Maika’s youth. It’s a collective sequence of scenes filled with spine-tingling and gripping episodes and I thoroughly enjoyed where it was taking me.
Sana Takeda’s art is once again on point, giving us stunning visual images. I love how every character can be both strikingly beautiful, whilst at the same time terrifying and hideous to look at. It’s rather unnerving and a testament to her confidence in combining both light and dark qualities, which she does so effortlessly. The Monstrum is my personal favourite, as I absolutely love the twisted form and insidious nature that it embodies. Whenever it’s on the page, my eyes always gravitate towards the menacing and lurking presence of it. It both draws me in and repels me at the same time.
I also really appreciate the level of detail that Takeda puts into every page. For instance, the ornate background designs and finer details give a sense of culture and history to this world. It feels old and lived in, as we see the crumbling ruins of ancient buildings and the clockwork mechanics of strange devices, like the Naraka sarcophagus or the almost steampunk designed flying ship. It’s a refreshing take on a unique fantasy world. Something I haven’t seen before.
Marjorie Liu has been clever to reveal a lot to us in this issue, without answering all of those questions we have been wanting to know. The finale to this first story arc is one that really delivered and I am definitely looking forward to venturing back into this interesting world, filled with mysteries and unresolved conflicts.
I’m giving this issue 4.5 out of 5 stars!