Monstress #16 Review: The Inky Black Monster May Just Have a Soul

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Maika and Zinn enter Zinn's sanctum. The creature claims that they should be able to navigate it with ease, but they are immediately assailed by cyborg automatons which Zinn believes should obey him. Deeper in, they find a servant simulacrum which is dedicated to seeing Maika be reincarnated as the Shaman-Empress.

Monstress #16 cover by Sana Takeda
Monstress #16 cover by Sana Takeda

Monstress #16 is a fairly slow-moving installment of the series, but it is an interesting one. Zinn is receiving further characterization to make him more than just another eldritch abomination working to do unspeakable things from the shadows. He and Maika are developing an interesting relationship as Zinn's perception of reality becomes falser and Maika's life sinks deeper.

Maika's flashbacks to Tuya are endearing and add some emotional resonance to the book. These brief scenes actually add a bit to the comic.

That aside, little feels accomplished in this comic. Maika and Zinn spend a lot of time in the sanctum. The guardian within it goes on about how Maika is the vessel for the Shaman-Empress' return. There are a pair of brief fights against the more monstrous automatons trying to kill Maika and Zinn. All considered, the comic just meanders around a bit before an unceremonious ending.

Monstress #16 art by Sana Takeda
Monstress #16 art by Sana Takeda

Sana Takeda's artwork, as it often does, steals the show in this installment of Monstress. The visual design of this world is breathtaking, and the automatons in Zinn's sanctum have memorably morbid appearances. The color work is brilliant to boot, creating the dark and mysterious atmosphere which often permeates an issue of Monstress.

Monstress #16 is a slightly underwhelming issue, even if the character work done on Zinn and Maika is interesting. Sana Takeda's artwork is still beautiful, but it doesn't quite make up for how dull the remainder of the comic can be. I can recommend it to followers of Monstress, but it's far from being required reading for the week. Feel free to check it out, though.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.