Monstress Volume 1 Awakening TP NM Marjorie Liu Sana Takeda 1st print Image Comics


SKU: 17969 Category:



PUBLISHER Image Comics
WRITER Marjorie Liu
ARTIST Sana Takeda
PAGES 192 pages
Full Color
Graphic Novel

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steampunk, Monstress tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both. Entertainment Weekly praised Monstressas one of Image Comics’ most imaginative and daring new series and dubbed it the Best New Original Series in their year-end Best Comics of 2015 list. Collects Monstress #1-6.

In the aftermath of a terrible war, tension still exists between the humans and the animal-hybrids, Arcanics. Surviving Arcanics are sold as slaves by the Federation of Man and even experimented on by the Cumaea, powerful human witch-nuns who mine the precious life-giving Lilium produced from the bodies of captured Arcanics. Maika Halfwolf, a 17-year-old Arcanic, survived the war but at a devastating cost. Looking for revenge, she allows herself to be sold as a slave to infiltrate the Cumaean stronghold in Zamora. Once there, she uses her newly developed, terrible power to escape, free the captured Arcanics, and brutally attack the witch-nuns. She also steals a fragment of an ancient and powerful mask and murders a Cumaean elder who knows secrets from Maika’s past. On the run from the Cumaea, the humans, and her own people, Maika must rely on herself and very few allies if she is to discover the secret of why her mother was murdered and, more important, who she is and what awful power she possesses. Collecting the first five issues of the popular comic, this is a beautifully written and complex book. Intricate and detailed, with a definite manga influence, Takeda’s artwork creates a lush and dangerous world for Liu’s equally dangerous characters.

2018 Eisner Award winner, Best Writer
2018 Eisner Award winner, Best Continuing Series
2018 Eisner Award winner, Best Publication for Teens
2018 Eisner Award winner, Best Cover Artist
2018 Harvey Award winner, Book of the Year
2018 Hugo Award winner, Best Graphic Story
2018 British Fantasy Award winner, Best Comic/Graphic Novel
2018, 2016, 2015 Entertainment Weekly’s The Best Comic Books of the Year
2018, Newsweek’s Best Comic Books of the Year
2018, The Washington Post’s 10 Best Graphic Novels of the Year
2018, Barnes & Noble’s Best Books of the Year
2018, YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens
2018, Thrillist’s Best Comics & Graphic Novels of the Year
2018, Powell’s Best Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Graphic Novels of the Year

New York Times bestselling and award-winning writer Marjorie Liu is best known for her fiction and comic books. She teaches comic book writing at MIT, and leads a class on Popular Fiction at the Voices of Our Nation (VONA) workshop. Ms. Liu’s extensive work includes the bestselling “Astonishing X-Men” for Marvel Comics, which featured the gay wedding of X-Man Northstar and was subsequently nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for outstanding media images of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Prior to writing full-time, Liu was a lawyer. She currently resides in Boston.

Sana Takeda is an illustrator and comic book artist who was born in Niigata, and now resides in Tokyo, Japan. At age 20 she started out as a 3D CGI designer for SEGA, a Japanese video game company, and became a freelance artist when she was 25. She is still an artist, and has worked on titles such as “X-23” and “Ms. Marvel” for Marvel Comics, and is an illustrator for trading card games in Japan.

“Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda take eastern and western comics storytelling traditions and styles, and create something wholly their own and remarkable: a beautifully told story of magic and fear, inhumanity and exploitation, of what it means to be human and the monsters we all carry inside us. Also, some of the best cats in comics. A delight.” -Neil Gaiman

Written by Marjorie Liu (X-23, Black Widow) and illustrated by Sana Takeda (X-23, Ms. Marvel), Monstress stands distinctly apart from the usual sword & sorcery dark fantasy comic, starting with the fact that most of the main characters are female as are most of the powers that be. But this is no simplistic or heavy-handed feminist take on the genre – it’s done very subtly and naturally so that we simply accept that this is the way this world is, nothing more, nothing less. The artwork is vivid and detailed and gives the world of Monstress a very different look and feel, as well as an unrelenting atmosphere of foreboding and danger. And the story progresses slowly and carefully, building the world little by little as we see and experience it through the characters, leaving the reader with a number of questions and mysteries that are only gradually revealed.

It helps to know that the world of Monstress is inhabited by five known races:

(1) Humans, who cannot perform magic, though some women are born with mental powers that seem like magic. Among humans there is a religious order called the Cumaea who seek out such children and compel them to join their order. Refusal is not an option.
(2) The Ancients, immortal beings who resemble humans but have the heads and tails of animals and who can perform powerful magics. The Ancients are divided into two rival courts: the Dusk Court and the Dawn Court. Think a number of Egyptians gods and you get the picture.
(3) The Cats, magical beings distinguished from ordinary cats by their ability to speak, to perform magic and by their multiple tails. More tails reflect more power, status and age.
(4) The Old Gods, an ancient race of evil, powerful and destructive beings, not remotely human in appearance, supposedly gone from the world but fear of them still lingers.
(5) The Arcanic Halfbreeds, a hybrid race originally resulting from matings of Ancients and humans, inheriting varying traits and powers from both. Some can pass for human, their animal-like traits either not visible or suppressed, but most are marked by one or more animal traits: eyes, ears, tails, even wings.

The central character of Monstress is a seventeen-year-old girl named Maika Halfwolf, an Arcanic who can fully pass for human, in spite of the fact that her left fore-arm is missing. And the strange eye-like tattoo on her chest. The book begins with her being put up for bids at a slave auction. This is her story.

Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a deeply complex dark fantasy graphic novel where the artwork is luxuriant and the story is a slow delicate build of gradual revelations.


Collects Montress 1-6. Near mint condition, 1st printing.