Two sisters battle monsters in a quest to reunite with their father in Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters by Chris & Laura Samnee.
The world seems as if it has gone to the stone age. The landscape is barren, people are living in tents, and monsters stalk the land looking for other creatures or people to eat. We come upon two sisters, Rainbow and Jonna. Rainbow likes to wear overalls and has purple hair. Rainbow’s sister, Jonna, is a girl of few words who dresses and acts as a primitive person. She has restless energy, running and leaping into the air. She quickly dispatches monsters with her bare hands.
As the girls travel, they leave the desert and enter a forest setting. The girls find an abandoned treehouse to stay in for the night that features a winding staircase. It’s at this treehouse where they are rescued by a lady named Nomi. Nomi is dressed like a pilot with an aviator’s hat and goggles and has armor plates that go from her shoulders down her arms. She is part of a ragtag group that survived the monsters.
I struggled my way through this graphic novel. I didn’t feel a connection with the characters or their journey. Jonna came across to me as a mini-Hulk, and all she seemed interested in doing was beating on monsters. There is tension between the two sisters. Rainbow often reaches out her hand to Jonna, who refuses to take it. Jonna is more than willing to take the hand of other characters in the story. For a story with monsters in the title, they don’t make many appearances. They look more like giant bugs or dinosaurs. And there is no explanation for why the monsters are there, if they have names, or have special abilities.
The artists did a wonderful job rendering the world of Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters in vibrant colors of pink, purple, and orange. One of my favorite looking monsters makes an appearance at the beginning of the story. It reminds me of a Pterodactyl with its pointy head. It has pinkish-orange skin with a purple tongue. They transition from the earthy tones of the desert landscapes to the luscious greens and browns of the forest. I love that the inhabitants of the forests live in mushroom houses.
The arc of the story takes an interesting turn with the introduction of the Nomi character. I wish she had been the lead character as I was instantly intrigued by her and her backstory. For me, that isn’t enough to recommend Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters. Interesting ideas and story possibilities are teed up at the end, but the seeds should have been planted far earlier in the graphic novel. This title is most appropriate for those aged 9-12.
Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters, vol. 1
By Chris Samnee, Laura Samnee
Art by Chris Samnee
Oni Press, 2021
Publisher Age Rating: 9-12
NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11)