‘Monstress Vol. 2: The Blood’ by Marjorie M. Liu & Sana Takeda [Comic Review]

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I’ve always been one of those people who finds the mixture of beauty and sorrow rather compelling.

I know that makes me sound like a poet stereotype but I think something can’t be truly beautiful unless there is some darkness in it for comparision.

This series was something that I’ll admit I was a little on the fence about before I started it. There is a lot of lore and violence which wasn’t something I was sure I wanted to get into. It took me months to actually get around to reading this second installment.

And yet this haunting world has a way of pulling me in that I can’t fully explain.

Here’s my review of Vol. 1: Awakening if you want to see my initial thoughts on the series!

Goodreads Summary

Maika Halfwolf is on the run from a coalition of forces determined to control or destroy the powerful Monstrum that lives beneath her skin. But Maika still has a mission of her own: to discover the secrets of her late mother, Moriko.

In this second volume of Monstress, collecting issues 7-12, Maika’s quest takes her to the pirate-controlled city of Thyria and across the sea to the mysterious Isle of Bones. It is a journey that will force Maika to reevaluate her past, present, and future, and contemplate whether there’s anyone, or anything, she can truly trust–including her own body.

The Reluctant Hero

I think one of the things that drew me into this second volume was the evolution of Maika. I wasn’t entirely sure how to feel about her in the first volume as her temper and self-centred goals made it difficult to see her as the harrowing protagonist I’m used to seeing in comics. And while I was intrigued by the mysterious power she possessed I couldn’t say I was reading the series for her as a character.

That all changed with this volume. While I can’t say I’ve warmed up to her very much, I find myself fascinated with her. She has a tremendous will, and while I think she wishes she could be an average person of good intentions, she has been born into a life of conflict and struggle.

She bites first because that has always been safer than waiting to be bitten.

If Dreams Could Talk

I will never stop marveling at the artwork Takeda brings to this series.

It’s one of the first things I point out to people when recommending it and I love seeing their reactions when I show them a page or panel. For example:

The use of muted colours creates this dreamy feeling to the world that bends reality and runs on magic. It compliments the story so well and the amount of detail, even in a panel like this that is basically an establishing shot–though I’m sure this will be more relevant to the plot later–is stunning.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

There’s a bit of a learning curve to this series but I’ve gotten to the point where I know a lot of the players and I’m starting to get an idea for what everyone wants. The world seems so vast and yet I’ve only seen a part of it. And will Maika finally find some kind of “normal”, regardless of what she is?

These are all things I need to find out about. It’s too late for me–I’m invested.

If comics are something you’re interested in but superheros aren’t your thing, I highly recommend this series. Tread with caution though. It’s not for the faint of heart.

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