After a 62-page debut, you'd think a regular sized issue would seem inadequate but 'Monstress' #2 delves deeper into this incredible fantasy world created by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda. Following the aftermath of Maika’s escape and wicked attack on the Cumaeans, the Mother Superior of The Cumaea, a coven of witch-nuns who extract lilium from the body of Arcanics, investigates the carnage in Zamora. Meanwhile, Maika, Kippa, and wisecracking cat Ren are fugitives in the borderlands.
Liu introduces the powerful Mother Superior, determined to find Maika and the mysterious mask that she took, even restoring corpses using lilium to do it. She unleashes her Inquisitrixes who are efficient and ruthless killers while investigating what happened during Maika's bloody exit. Liu has smartly created a vicious villain that is so thoroughly evil it makes a great counter-balance to the calmer but still suspenseful events elsewhere.
Emilia, a nice funny lady, who is driving her wagon filled with produce and our heroes, Maika, Kippa, and Ren through the Trucelands. Emilia is an Edenite, who lives off the land and barters with locals, and part of a religious group who wish to return society to nature. A tense situation arises when hunters search her wagon looking for Arcanic fugitives.
It's a lot of information to take in during issue two. There's still the struggle of Maika with her inner turmoil, the monster that lies within her. A monster Kippa has seen and now fears Maika. Ren's sarcastic observations about the hideous but deadly mask start to rub Maika the wrong way but he does have a point.
As in the first issue, Takeda continues to fill each panel with intricate and detailed pencils that envelope the eyes. Her pacing and choreography of action makes the visuals fluid and appealing. She's as adept with larger sweeping panels as she is with small tender and tense panels.
'Monstress' #2 continues the ambitious world building by introducing new characters and how they fit in the tumultuous landscape. Liu and Takeda have created a dark fantasy world that exposes the divisions of race, status, class, and species that almost mirror our own.