Monstress #35 Review

by Nick Devonald on June 29, 2021

Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Sana Takeda
Letters: Rus Wooton

Under normal circumstances this review would rave around what an excellent issue it is, and bid you hurry to your LCS to pick it up. For those astute readers among you yes, there is a but coming. A big one. This is the last issue of the volume, and Monstress will once again be going on its regular hiatus before the next story arc begins. And this issue gives one of the best cliff-hangers of the series, which will make the wait for the next one more painful. How then, in good conscience, could this review recommend the issue knowing full well the pain that will be caused during the unsufferable wait for the resolution? Joking aside this is a hell of an issue, Marjorie Liu manages to build up the story throughout the arc until we reach this issue, and then delivers big time. Even if the rising crescendo ends too abruptly, leaving the reader desperate for more. Readers will have to remind themselves that patience is a virtue.

One of the ongoing themes of this particular story arc has been looking at Maika’s growth since we first met her, that damaged, frightened little girl who has now become one of the most powerful forces in the world. She’s made peace with Zinn. She no longer wants to die. She is at peace with who she is, events have shaped and moulded her into something new, waiting to truly discover who she is. That theme is explored in even greater depth in this issue, and it culminates by a long awaited heart to heart between Maika and Tuya. Both characters have gone through so much since the story began, separated until recently, both have changed. What do these changes mean for them?

Maika’s father also has a large role in this issue, events he has been conspiring to bring about are beginning to come to fruition. It feels like all the disparate pieces of the tale that Liu has been slowly bringing together over the course of the story are almost assembled. The characters have been introduced. Their motivations examined. And only now, as loyal readers find themselves armed with any pieces of the puzzle to begin putting it together, does it feel like the direction of the plot is becoming clearer. But with such a large cast of characters it doesn’t feel predictable, instead it keeps readers on their toes guessing what will happen next.

Sana Takeda manages to rival the epic scope of Liu’s writing with her exceptional art. Each page looks fantastic and Takeda’s talent manages to show readers so much of the story, subtle nuances in the characters faces speak volumes, and it makes the long awaited reunion between Tuya and Maika all the more heart wrenching for it. Maika’s new look is incredible, there is something truly alien about the design, which is in keeping with the style Takeda has designed for this world.

This issue ends with the mother of all cliff-hangers, and the wait for the next issue is going to be almost unbearable. The real triumph of this issue, and the larger story-arc, is getting to see the changes that Liu has wrought in Maika over the course of the series. This series features some of the best character growth in any storytelling medium. The story is incredible. It’s tragic and heart-breaking and incredibly human. It’s beautiful and horrifying. The art stuns on every page, unique and special.

Our Score:


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