REVIEW: ‘Monstress,’ Issue #32

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Monstress #32

Monstress #32 is published by Image Comics, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda, and letters by Rus Wooton. With Maika finding Tuya with her aunt last issue, the reunion of family and old friends continues. Needless to say, nobody is happy seeing the others. Meanwhile, the gears of war continue to turn, and an old adversary arrives outside Ravenna.

The last issue ended on a harsh note. With those final pages showing Maika discovering Tuya, literally in bed with her aunt, the feeling of betrayal from Maika and the shock at being discovered on Tuya’s face hit extremely hard. And if I’m honest, I expected this issue to open with either Tuya or the Warlord being killed. But as one would expect, Liu knows how to tell a great story far better than I. Rather than hitting the drama button that hard, things go decidedly different.

Rather than opening Monstress #32 with the awkward reunion that began previously, the story opens with Corvin. Still grief-stricken at his sister’s life-threatening injuries, we find him with his face tear-streaked as he prays for her recovery. When he returns to her side, he discovers Kippa there administering some medicine that she could gather outside the walls of the city. After a brief exchange between the two, the story departs from them to follow Maika.

Maika’s confrontation with her aunt delivers an interesting contrast between the two characters. Despite her aunt’s status as The Warlord, Maika is easily the more dominant personality in the scene. When compared to her calm and in control demeanor, The Warlord feels nothing but small and petty. And throughout the scene, there is Tuya.

While I hold no sympathy at all for this manipulative spy in general, her utter panic and desperation to keep the situation from ending in bloodshed makes me feel some inkling of sympathy for her. Till I remember, she is the architect of it and ultimately decide she can reap what she’s sown.

Throughout this scene, Liu delivers all of these characters with perfect pitch and precision. All the weight of the past feels present in the attitudes of the characters as insults, accusations, and a revelation are all tossed around within the confrontation.

Later, after both Maika and Tuya are imprisoned, the reunion between them continues in a less heated way. While I won’t give spoilers, some revelations within this scene change some aspects of Maika’s character as I look back on her.  Throughout this scene and the entire issue, Liu continues to show an amazing sense of character writing as she develops her subjects in ways that surprise me.

Outside of the family drama that unfolds in Monstress #32, we also get a glimpse of a couple of other places where the story continues to unfold. In both the Federation camp outside Ravenna as well as far off Constantine, the situation’s gears continue to turn.

All of the drama within this issue is captured wonderfully by the work of series artist Takeda. The strain, anger, and betrayal that passes between the various characters here is played to perfection within the art. And my favorite part of it all has to be Maika. How Takeda presents her throughout her confrontation with her aunt, as well as her discussion with Tuya, is magnificent. Her calm and her composure exude an air of confidence and control that has been a long time in the making for the character. She has grown a lot, and it’s wonderful to see that growth so superbly displayed.

Rounding out Monstress #32’s presentation is Wooton’s lettering. As always, the letters in this book deliver its story smoothly and clearly as it guides the reader through the gorgeous panels without ever interfering with the art.

When all is said and done, Monstress #32 continues the book’s excellent run. Filled with great character, the story builds up the developing situation around Revanna nicely. With yet another surprising finale, I look forward to seeing where the next issue will lead this enthralling narrative.

Monstress #32 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 


Monstress #32
4

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Monstress #32 continues the book’s excellent run. Filled with great character, the story builds up the developing situation around Revanna nicely. With yet another surprising finale, I look forward to seeing where the next issue will lead this enthralling narrative.