In Monstress, Vol. 4: The Chosen, Maika learns more about her family bloodline on her father’s side, and she is pulled into the war-hungry Blood Court, a group of Arcanics who have deserted either the Dawn or Dusk Courts. The Dawn and Dusk Courts continue their maneuvering with a marriage of two Court leaders that binds the Courts together, but this arrangement is only surface-deep—both Courts still plan to continue their scheming and pursuit of Maika. The return of a foe from the first volume, Awakening, shows just how close the Cumaean witches are to Maika as well. With enemies closing in on all sides, the reader is left to wonder how Maika will continue her quest of reassembling the Shaman-Empress’s mask and gaining symbiosis with Zinn.
The war that’s been brewing for quite a while is finally upon us in Monstress, Vol. 5: Warchild. Maika’s “bleeding heart” gets her involved in a major battle between the Federation and the Arcanics at the city of Ravenna. Maika needs something from inside Ravenna, and her hatred for the witches entangles her with the forces feebly trying to protect the city. It turns out, she is exactly the warrior that the city needs to quell the chaos of refugees and townspeople fleeing the witches, and she starts organizing who can fight and prioritizing what areas of the city need the most protection. Kippa is tasked with helping out with the city’s children, and she doesn’t listen to Maika when she tells her they can’t help any more refugees outside the walls. Her miscalculation leads to a terrible tragedy. The Cumaean witches reveal powerful new warriors that were created by questionable means, and their presence offends some of the human forces. Through flashbacks and conversations with old acquaintances, we learn a lot more about Maika’s past and what happened at Constantine years ago.
Readers who have been frustrated by the lack of coherent backstory in the Monstress series will find this volume intensely satisfying. Liu has woven threads through all of her volumes that now come together in Warchild. In previous volumes, we have gotten a sense that Maika is an extremely capable fighter, and we’ve seen a few instances of her skills, but her talents are on full display as she takes charge of the defense of the city.
As we have come to expect, Takeda’s art continues to be striking and intricate. There is quite a bit of action in these two volumes, which is easy to follow and still beautiful despite it’s violence. The amount of f-bombing is consistent with the rest of the volumes in this series, and the level of bloodshed and violence is taken up a bit, especially in Warchild. The intricate storytelling is reminiscent of the complexity of Locke and Key. Fans of Saga might also enjoy Monstress.
Monstress, Volumes 4 & 5
By Marjorie Liu
Art by Sana Takeda
Monstress, Vol. 4: The Chosen
Monstress, Vol. 5: Warchild
Image Comics, 2020
Publisher Age Rating: Mature
Series ISBNS and Order
Title Details and Representation
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18)