Man-Eaters continues to be hilarious and intriguing.
Go out and read the first five issues of Man-Eaters; do yourself a favor. Image Comics is bringing us a story about were-panthers and the patriarchy, but it’s also about growing up, and the patriarchy. The satire is strong with Chelsea Cain, acclaimed writer, and artists Kate Niemczyk and Elise McCall, colorist Rachelle Rosenberg and letterer Joe Caramagna (pretty much the team from Mockingbird), as they are creating a world of a comic experience that is highly entertaining, informative, and overall quite striking. This fifth issue has secrets, mysteries, pull-out poster images, and serious girl talk.
Sophie E. vanishes in Man-Eaters
Last issue of Man-Eaters was all about were-panther safety, gussied up like a Teen Vogue, but the running story is that in a world where women who get their periods turn into literal giant vicious cats and are therefore given estrogen suppressants in their diets and general water supply, amidst a rash of killings, a girl named Maude gets her period. This issue starts out with Maude and the crew hanging in the bathroom at school, talking about Nietzschean existentialism; you know, regular stuff. The crew tells a girl about to wash her hands about the hormones in the water, we learn about the sometimes-awkwardness of having the name “Sophie”, and a Sophie E. disappears from the stall after asking for toilet paper. After some potential hypothetical situations and remembrances of ninja unicorn movies, the crew opens the stall door and sees that, indeed, she is gone. There is a glitchy toilet, and that makes me think there’s a whole new level to this that hasn’t been previously mentioned. The crew thinks perhaps the estrogen they’ve been avoiding is making them see weird Matrix-like glitches, and who knows?
No wisdom like Dad wisdom in Man-Eaters
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About halfway through the issue, a full panel of elder wisdom is passed down, and it is some crucial knowledge. Maude’s dad gives the crucial advice he thinks it’s vital that she know, including X-Files viewing orders, the importance of running the pockets of dead wizards and tire pressure, and a very pointed take on which of “The Big Two” is better. In the real world, Maude’s dad and his estranged wife, Jo, are both working the case of the current man-eater deaths, her father as a police detective and Jo as a veterinarian assigned to the government agency that deals with cat attacks. We get to see a two-page spread of a poster of the mobile crime lab they’re working in, and they discover a hair in a sample that isn’t like any kind of organic hair at all, stumping the zoologist on site. We learn about the disparity of rules for boys and girls in school, and how five months ago, Maude got a box with tampons and a hat from an unnamed individual. Now, as she goes to bed, with her father appearing to listen outside her room, Maude talks to an unseen individual, and it seems highly implied that it is the missing were-panther Sophie E.
We’re treated to a wicked octopus and a fine poem, and a couple more fake ads for lost people and Estro-Pop, and it wraps up another excellent issue. The commentary is piercing and sometimes uncomfortable, which means it’s working. Perhaps next issue we’ll get to meet a were-panther. Let us know what you think in the comments below.