The Blessed are not easily touched by death. (Monstress #20 Comic Review)

Written by: Marjorie Liu
Illustrated by: Sana Takeda
Lettering & Design by: Rus Wooton
Edited by: Jennifer M. Smith
Editorial Assistant: Ceri Riley

The machinations of war are grinding slowly forward. Kippa is about to embark on a quest of her own, and Maika and Corvin aren’t far behind. Ren is in the hands of Vihn Nem, who isn’t who—or what—anyone thought she was. Changes are looming.

In This Issue: Issue #20 opens on a wedding arranged to solidify a treaty between the Dusk and Dawn Courts. Two of their most prominent figures bound together, each with a tie to Maika, though those ties are of decidedly different kinds. Kippa, meanwhile, has begun to navigate the Tomb of Baru, followed by Yafaela, one of the band who kidnapped her. While they’re concentrating on each other, they get caught by something dwelling in the tomb. Elsewhere, Ren comes to in the presence of Vihn Nem, who is less than impressed with his betrayal of the mandate of his own goddess—and Kippa. Nem needs him, however, as he likely knows things she doesn’t. At this point we are made privy to something Ren has known all along: Vihn Nem is an Ancient.

Maika and Corvin are following the trail left by Kippa and her kidnappers, and the conversation strays back to Constantine. Maika wants to know how Corvin knew about the eight of them who walked away that day—who of their group was the snitch. Corvin refuses to yield up a name, and an argument ensues, leaving the two of them uneasy with each other but they move forward—at least until they are met by a group of soldiers, one of whom is Yvette Lo Lim. That’s not the biggest surprise, however.

My Two Cents: As always, Liu and Takeda deliver with story and art. Monstress is a visual feast of immense detail with a story line that winds and winds and always manages to slip in something completely unexpected. Family ties are coming much more clearly into play now and it’s fascinating to see how these relationships are playing with and against each other. Not only do we have families of blood, but we have families of choice—no one quite understands why Kippa means anything at all to Maika, including Maika herself, but the little fox has charmed her in the midst of all the destruction and chaos. Kippa, determined to see the light in everything, has found something in Maika that she admires, even though Maika puts up a front of indifference. Something in their beings speaks to each other, and that in itself is beautiful.

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Elizabeth Fazzio
South Bay native turned East Bay resident. Holder of two less-than-useful arts degrees. Human Resources professional by day, creative recluse the rest of the time. Favorite words: Weasel, toast. Mental health advocate--https://makeitok.org
Elizabeth Fazzio
Summary
Though this issue erred on the side of being a 'space filler' issue—one which worked as a stepping stone to get us to where we need to be in order for the next big thing to happen—it still threw a few curve balls. As always, the writing and art were stellar, so even though we were mostly witness to a setup for something I can only anticipate will be much, much bigger, there was no lacking in quality. So on we go to next month, when it's likely there will be a whole lot of action all at once.
Good
  • Texture in the art
  • Unexpected events
  • Art and story blend seamlessly
  • Seamless worldbuilding
  • Story elements are balanced
  • Layered storytelling
  • Constant action
Bad
  • It's easy to get lost in the intrigue, but eventually you figure it out
  • I wish the issues were longer!!!
9.5
Amazing
Art - 10
Story - 9
Writing - 9
Predictability - 10
Written by
South Bay native turned East Bay resident. Holder of two less-than-useful arts degrees. Human Resources professional by day, creative recluse the rest of the time. Favorite words: Weasel, toast. Mental health advocate--https://makeitok.org

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