Published on December 2nd, 2016 | by Dana Folkard
MONSTRESS #8 REVIEW
Summary: An intriguing issue filled with mystery and menace.
The mystery of the strange skeleton key and its connection to Moriko looms over Maika, as she tries to unravel the secrets behind it. These answers can only be discovered by going to the menacing Isle of Bones, a dangerous journey that even the most hardened pirates fear. Maika also struggles with the ever-present threat of the Monstrum’s growing hunger.
Monstress #8 begins with Maika and company departing from Thyria for the mysterious Isle of Bones. As they begin their journey into the unknown, Maika and the Captain discuss ways in which to sail to the Isle of Bones and how to land on its shores safely. There is just one problem: the Eldritch Fog! This is an accursed mist that veils ships passage through the waters, preventing anyone from landing on the island. Are these stories true or just superstitious sea tales? We also see the Monstrum awaken once again, hungering for more flesh. Always the bearer of bad news, the Monstrum knows what the skeleton key is and weaves a story to Maika about its origin. The problem is, can Maika fully trust this beast and the stories it tells? With Maika trying to fight the Monstrum as its hunger to feed grows, a deadly plot is growing that will put all of their lives at risk.
There is a lot of tension and fear in this issue, not only from Maika but also from the ship’s crew and her companions. There is fear over the Isle of Bones and the white mist that shrouds their passage to the shores of the island. Marjorie Liu has done a great job at heightening this sense of fear and the unknown, as it really begins to feel like they are all sailing towards some ill-fated doom. Not only is there the threat of the Isle of Bones but also the ever-present Monstrum. Maika is forever battling to keep this beast contained but you can see that it’s all starting to take its toll on her. The constant struggle of controlling the beast is a heavy burden and you really feel the fear and anxiety that she goes through. I actually really enjoy the moments when we get to see the Monstrum and witness its interaction with Maika. Clearly Maika despises the Monstrum and sees the beast as a parasitic companion but it does provide crucial and importat information every time it appears. The banter between the two of them is enjoyable and I find their exchanges to be some of the most interesting and though-provoking dialogue. Their relationship is interesting and dynamic and I enjoy seeing it grow as the story unfolds.
Sana Takeda’s art is once again delightful. There are so many details on every page, from the beautifully ornate robes to the luminescent glow of the water. Whilst it’s all very beautiful to look at, there is also a real grittiness there as well. The pirates look like they’ve lived a difficult life and endured a lot from the war, as they appear tough and hardened. There is also a harshness to Maika who outwardly appears beautiful and stoic, hiding her torment from the others as best she can. That is until she is alone, when her dark and twisted secret is revealed. Her beauty is replaced with anguish and you can see her physical and emotional struggle through her tormented expressions. I do believe that Takeda’s art is at its best when she draws the monsters and demons. They are grotesque and vile to look at and I just love them for all their insidious creepiness! Their twisted form is hideous and unsightly and this contrasts with the lovely and striking faces of many of the characters. It’s an interesting contrast and provides some eye-catching visuals.
Overall, I feel very intrigued with what’s to come in Monstress after reading this issue. The story is building and we have been given some interesting nuggets of information that have left us with a lot of unanswered questions. I’m curious and want to know more about this skeleton key and the links it has to Maika’s mother and I can’t wait to see what they will find at the Isle of Bones. I look forward to reading the next issue and discovering the answers to these questions.
I’m giving this issue 4 out of 5 stars!
Title: Monstress #8
Publisher: Image Comics
Creative Team: Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda
Reviewer: Dana Folkard