It’s my birthday this week. I’m not saying how old I will be or what day exactly it is, but I will be celebrating in my own way. That means I’ll be reading and reviewing five different Image Comics trades, two recently released continuations of series I’ve been following, and three others of series I really dig.
First up is Volume 3 of Monstress, subtitled Haven, and while Monstress isn’t among my current top series, it’s always a bit of fun about a young woman and the ancient creature that lives inside her body.
After angering the Thyrian Queens following the previous volume, Maika Halfwolf is sailing for the neutral city of Pontus with her companions, the young fox-girl Kippa and the cat Nekomancer and secret agent Master Ren. Pontus’ neutrality means Maika can hide there from, well, everyone who is after her, a growing group that includes the Thyrian Blood Queens, the Federation, and the Ancients that include Maika’s grandmother. There is good reason for it in the form of Zinn, the ancient monster that lives inside Maika’s body. That creature, a being known mostly as the Destroyer in some circles, has enemies of his own going back to his own time. Yes, it seems that there are two things to worry about that would be new to Maika: the people of Pontus need something from her to increase the city’s defenses that theoretically only she could do, and it seems Zinn isn’t the only ancient sharing a body with someone these days.
As always, writer Marjorie Liu puts together an intriguing story dealing with multiple factions, mostly represented by women. Artist Sana Takeda’s work combines a general manga appearance with a more Western style American comic art. It’s not always the clearest to see what’s going on, but clearly there is a lot. The problem I have with Monstress is that since the trades come out so far apart, so many characters look similar, and there are so many different factions looking to do whatever it is they are doing, that it does take me a little time just getting everything straight from whenever I last read one of these. This one also tosses some wrenches into the mess involving Kippa and the cats, so I’m not sure where that is going, but it is going somewhere, and I will read volume 4 at some point when it finally comes along. 8.5 out of 10 malfunctioning servants offering to welcome you with a chainsaw of some kind.