Monstress #1 by Image Comics was an interesting comic to read- difficult, if you’re not accustomed to high-concept stories. The comic is based on Asian mythology, focusing mostly on animals mixed with human D.N.A. The story is focused on a young girl named Maika who is sold through the slave market in an alternate 1900’s Asia. She is sold to Lady Sophia, along with a cyclops, a fox kit, and an avian child. It is later revealed that Maika went into slavery in search of those responsible for the death of her mother.
Marjorie Liu writes the comic, with art by Sana Takeda. Marjorie Liu is known for her stories such as Tiger Eye, A Taste of Crimson, and Dark Mirror. She served as writer on Marvel projects before this, including X-Men comics and most notably, the wedding of Northstar and his boyfriend. Liu was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award in 2013. Sana Takeda is a Japanese artist who has worked on several American comics for Aspen, Image and Marvel, including the Carol Danvers Ms. Marvel series.
I was excited to read the book knowing it would be rich with Asian mythology. However, I found the comic was more focused on science fiction and magic. The mythology appears in the creature-people, including chimeras, kitsune, and a two-tailed cat. Many-tailed foxes are common in comics and anime based in Asian culture.
The mythology is woven into the backdrop of this fantastical world, but I felt that it could have been more prominent and explained. The story is also vague as most of the details are left to be figured out by the reader as it progresses. This was probably done to get the audience to read the next installment, but I felt confused and unsure if I wanted to read more. My favorite part of the comic was the illustration. The art reminded me of my favorite manga, XXXHolic. I wish more details had been given to explain the world, instead of starting the comic with the story already well in motion.
Disclaimer: I was provided a review copy by Image Comics.