Monstress No. 20: Weddings, graves, and surprising revelations


Monstress continues to be one of the best comics available.

Winner of five Eisner awards last year, Monstress is duly recognized as something truly impressive, from the art to the story to the emotions evoked and involved. Writer Marjorie Liu has created a fantasy world replete with demons, many-tailed cats, and bitter warfare, while setting it all against a backdrop of matriarchy, which was not only a brilliant choice but the only one that would make this story work.

Artist Sana Takeda is like an ethereal wind, filling her pages with sweeping lines and bold, almost palpable scenes of action, violence, and romance. With lettering and design by Rus Wooton, this comic is the complete package; vivid, entertaining, and believable, Monstress has something for everyone.

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An Ancient, revealed

Last issue, Kippa disappeared into a haunted tomb, and Maika and Corvin went to find her. This issue starts out with a wedding between the Baroness Tuya and the Warlord, Maika’s aunt. They get married for political expedience; with a war between humans and Arcanics brewing, it’s a prudent move to unite the Arcanic’s power. Maika’s aunt makes it clear that she will take this union to her advantage, as she and Tuya drink from a cup of their mingled blood. Kippa, deep in the haunted tomb with a young Oni who captured her originally, is attacked by some undead Monstrum, it would seem, and the two interlopers are carried off by the creature. Vihn Nem, Royal Engineer of Pontus, converses with Ren after he awakes, calls him out for being a traitor, and reveals herself to be a particularly infamous Ancient, seeking the knowledge of the Blood Fox that Ren has hidden inside his mind.  Maika and Corvin share some insightful moments and become that much closer, foreshadowing either a love affair or his death; take your pick.

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More surprising revelations

Kippa wakes, further in the tomb, grateful to be alive, along with the young Oni. She discovers a chest with a kind of torch in it, and is confronted by whatever kidnapped her, while we are shown a mural on the ancient wall behind her that looks suspiciously like her and a Monstrum; prophecy, indeed. Corvin and Maika run into a group of unidentifiable soldiers, led by Yvette Lo Lim, who Maika thought she killed many, many issues ago.

It is revealed that they are in the service of Maika’s father, never before seen and radiating all kinds of evil power. The full page depicting him is a thing of beauty; ominous tendrils of dark energy radiate from his head and things seem “torn” around him, showcasing just how good Takeda really is. Maika falls unconscious and there the issue ends.

Next. Scoundrels take the deal in Sharkey the Bounty Hunter No. 1!. dark

Every issue of Monstress has a couple pages of backmatter, usually in an educational excerpt from the teachings of a wise and powerful cat, and this issue shows us a picture of Maika’s mother discovering an ancient painting of The Empress, with facts about the discovery and it’s importance. Truly a work to behold, Monstress is an absolute must-read for any aficionado of good storytelling. Let us know what you thought in the comments section.