The cover of Monstress #19 proudly boasts of the five Eisners that Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s book won in 2018. Since this is the first issue since the third trade paperback, it’s good to see the book start with a recap and a summary of the main characters.
Monstress #19 catches up where the last issue ended, with the exception of a brief flash back hinting at Kippa’s past. The rest of the issue deals with the current fates of Kippa and Maika Halfwolf. This is an issue that is focused on setting up the future, hinting that there is more to Kippa than we have seen so far. Kippa drives her part of the story forward thanks to her determination and spirit. It really makes you want to see what happens next with her. Maika’s story also reveals some interesting tidbits about the past, as well as shedding more light on her companion Corvin D’Oro.
The strength of this issue is that it’s a logical follow-up that builds interest in the next issues while also adding hints of the past and the bigger picture. Liu does a good job of using a few words to add a lot of intrigue and mystery to two of the main characters. On the other hand, it does struggle to feel like a great issue on its own. It isn’t the case of nothing happening but rather the fact that this feels like the setup to something better. Like a lot of modern comics, the focus on intricate long-term story arcs and the trade paperback model means that some issues can feel a little lackluster. Unfortunately, that feels like the case here as this issue is overshadowed by the ones that have come before it.
As always, Takeda’s work is both beautiful and brutal. There are very few books that are as distinctive and eye catching as Monstress. The character designs are striking and memorable while much of this issue is also tempered with bloody violence.
Monstress #19 is another visit to the beautifully brutal life of Maika Halfwolf and her companion Kippa. This introduces some new questions and sets up some new challenges, but this issue does feel more like a stepping stone for future great issues rather than a great issue in itself.