REVIEW: ‘Monstress: Talk Stories,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Monstress: Talk Stories #2

Monstress: Talk Stories #2 is published by Image Comics, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda, and letters by Rus Wooton. As Maika settles in to let Kippa give her a haircut, her would-be barber asks her for a story from her past. After all, she shared the story about her sister, so why not something from Maika’s past? And so, we are transported to a time and place full of sunshine and salty sea waves.

Pain can take many forms. While the most obvious is the moments that hurt in and of themselves, there is an often even more insidious hurt that can creep into our hearts. Those moments that were not painful at the time have since become wounds for us to bear. Those moments of happiness lost, and of people we no longer have with us. While we always try to preserve these memories as shards of light in dark hours, it is not always possible to do so. This pain is explored thoroughly in Monstress: Talk Stories #2.

Maika’s story takes us back to when she was just a child before her life had become as dark as it is. Before the war and ruin had beset her from all sides, her mother was preparing to send her off to a military academy. She wanted Maika to be ready, to be able to survive. Maika was not behind this plan. So, one day, along with her friend Areka, she sneaks off in a boat to head for a forbidden isle, hoping they can live there in the warmth of the sun and the cool spray of the sea. However, their journey is interrupted by a sudden storm. And as the two struggle to cling to life, they are found by a most unlikely person. And their trip to freedom takes a surprising turn.

Just as with its predecessor, Monstress: Talk Stories #2 delivers a story full of warmth and heart that is surrounded by tears and darkness. Liu crafts a story here that simultaneously lifts the reader’s spirits while also dashing them on the rocks. The optimism of youth and the infinite possibilities they always see in the future bring a sting to the heart, as the reader knows what seemingly already awaits the young girl.

As with all things Monstress, Liu’s gorgeous narrative is matched by Takeda’s hauntingly beautiful art. Both the emotional impact of the story and the design of the world itself remain on a tier all its own. Every aspect of the visuals is equal parts unique, emotional, and breathtaking.

Rounding out the book is Wooton’s lettering. The work done by Wooton delivers the story fluidly, without ever imposing itself on the art. And while that is always the letterer’s primary task, given the quality of the art here, it is even more appreciated than normal.

When all is said and done, Monstress: Talk Stories #2 delivers a beautiful narrative that is both heartwarming and tragic. It’s a look at how beautiful memories can be a bright light in the darkness, even if that same light can still burn us now and then.

Monstress: Talk Stories #2 is available on December 30th, wherever comics are sold.


Monstress: Talk Stories #2
5

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Monstress: Talk Stories #2 delivers a beautiful narrative that is both heartwarming and tragic. It’s a look at how beautiful memories can be a bright light in the darkness, even if that same light can still burn us now and then.