A Daughter’s Prerogative (Monstress #23 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 ties that bind have hidden knots.

In This Issue: We left Kippa creating a diversion in order to draw a pair of The Doctor’s guards away from Corvin, which she does successfully but risks capture herself. Just as this looks inevitable, Ren flies in from out of nowhere, a whirlwind of teeth, claws, and feline fury, and helps Kippa defeat her would-be captors, leading to a tearful reunion between the fox child and the traitorous nekomancer.

Meanwhile, Maika is attempting to come to terms with her father, his politics, his ethics, and his methods—needless to say, it isn’t going well. Maika takes issue with his stance on all of them, finding them to exist on every level of the spectrum from unpleasant to downright abhorrent and, in one instance, quite literally stomach-turning. During their exchange, Maika experiences a memory from her early days—an argument between her parents about her father’s (harmless, he claimed) experiments into her potential with her ‘hidden traveler’. This remembering turns Maika and her father’s argument to the state of the monstrum now, and the hunger he creates in his host, that for the flesh of other humanoid beings.

This argument drives Maika to leave the presence of The Doctor, but a quick visit from a tiny, floofy white dog sees her determined to leave altogether, but with more than she had when she arrived. Returning to The Doctor’s lab, Maika is reunited with Vihn, though their reunion is short as Maika is in a hurry to retrieve a piece of her father’s expreiments—the Inquisitrix Gull. The Doctor arrives shortly after Maika frees Gull from the tank in which she is imprisoned. There is an exchange of words, blows, and ultimately, favors, which leaves Zinn both visible and weakened through The Doctor’s power.

My Two Cents: Lin and Takeda have delivered another issue true to form with art and story sharing the spotlight. Contrary to form, however, apart from Kippa and Ren’s brief reunion in the first couple of pages, the action for the remainder of the issue stays with Maika and The Doctor. There is a depth of character exploration and necessary exposition in this installment, which would have been poorly served with constant location and story line shifts, so while this large chunk of action dedicated to a single facet of the story is unusual, in this instance it was the best choice on behalf of the creative team. The readers need as much information as they can get ahead of what is shaping up to be a conflict of epic proportions. We are faced with the inevitability of all-out war in addition to Maika’s personal struggles which are increasing at an alarming pace, and Liu ad Takeda are adept at setting us up for what is to come. The tension is mounting on all sides—when will it peak?

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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
Elizabeth Fazzio

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Summary
I really appreciated the longer, more in-depth look into the history of Maika and The Doctor we were afforded in issue #23. We're getting more than the glimpses we've had in the past into just how deep-seated the distrust is between the factions inhabiting the Known World, and their motivations for entering into a conflict rather than attempting a peaceful compromise. We're also starting to see Maika fray at the edges. It's been a slow process until now—she's been a paragon of strength (even when we knew she was secretly feeling something entirely different than she was portraying outwardly) up to now, but I believe this may be the first time her sheer terror at the events surrounding her has been shown in such a raw fashion. The strain of maintaining her facade is constantly visible now—we're watching her grow weak by denying the hunger of the monstrum within her while being buffeted from all sides by false friends, deplorable ethics, and her own conscience. When the dam finally breaks, it's going to be explosive.
Good
  • Art and story blend seamlessly
  • Story elements are balanced
  • Seamless worldbuilding
  • Layered storytelling
Bad
  • It's easy to get lost in the intrigue, but eventually you figure it out
8.8
Great
Art - 9
Story - 9
Writing - 9
Predictability - 8
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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