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The Monstress Within (Way Too Fly Art Appreciation Series)

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda are the creators of the continuing fantasy epic graphic novel series Monstress, which has been distributed by the American publisher Image Comics since November 2015. The story is set in a matriarchal civilization that draws inspiration from early 20th-century Asia and is centered on Maika Halfwolf, a young girl who has a perplexing telepathic link with a powerful monster. Young Maika puts herself amid a catastrophic conflict between human and supernatural forces as she risks all to control her mental bond with a monster of immense strength. In this extraordinary story, steampunk and Kaiju collide.

Arcanics, a race of supernatural beings that at times resemble humans, are at war with the human Federation, which is led by the Cumaea, a collection of sorceresses who use Arcanics as a source of power to consolidate their dominance. One of the themes of the series, according to Liu, is the inner strength required to combat persistent dehumanization as well as the power of female friendship. The comic's high fantasy concepts and complex world-building fantasy concepts and complex world-building of the comic have been likened to those of "ambitious" authors like George R. R. Martin or J. R. R. Tolkien. The 2018 Harvey Award for Book of the Year, four Hugo Awards, and five Eisner Awards are just a few of the accolades the series has received.

Monstress transports readers to a magical dystopian society with elements that are remarkably reminiscent of our own. Every reader may relate to the heroine Maika, who encounters significant challenges as a woman of mixed ethnicity. Even though the Arcanics and humans have been at war for a long time and are presently at a standstill, humans continue to capture Arcanics and sell them as slaves to other humans, which is a key plot point in the series. Maika is desperate to find the person who killed her mother and exact retribution. Sometimes a "monster," surges out of Maika's amputated left arm, representing the repressed anger within her. Although a source of enormous power, the demon that seizes control of Maika's body and its thoughts is difficult for her to comprehend and manage. The plot develops as Maika negotiates the power struggles between the human and arcanic groups while discovering new perspectives on her family and the "Ancients."

Considering the perspectives of those often silenced in any society is essential. Monstress responds to violence committed against women by giving them agency in violent situations, making it impossible for the violence to be based on misogyny. Although women aren’t usually allowed to express their full range of emotions, In Monstress, Maika is one of the most abrasive characters. Liu uses speculative, otherworldly elements to draw the readers into a world where the issues of race are even more apparent, revealing conversations about how it can be discussed openly for any reader.

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1 Comment

Apr 07, 2023

I love this

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