Review: Kaiju Action With Heart In ‘Jonna And The Unpossible Monsters’ #1
by James Ferguson
Rainbow searches for her sister in a world where giant monsters roam. Come for the kaiju and stay for the heart in this solid middle-grade debut.
One day giant monsters showed up, changing the dynamic on the planet forever. That happened to be the last time Rainbow saw her sister, Jonna. A year has passed and Rainbow has never stopped searching for Jonna. She’s gotten by, but has held onto hope. That perseverance is about to pay off.
Writers Chris and Laura Samnee introduce us to a new take on some familiar tropes in Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters. We’ve seen kaiju stories and dystopian societies, but never quite like this. It’s powered by love and loss. Even though we only just meet these sisters, we get a rough understanding of who they are and what their relationship is like. Jonna is small and scrappy, ready to jump into adventure if she sees even the faintest hint of fun. Rainbow is older and more responsible, looking out for her younger sibling.
Much of this first issue is told visually as artist Chris Samnee introduces us to this lush world full of possibility. There are only a handful of words in the first ten or so pages, yet everything is pretty clear. Samnee’s artwork showcases the setting with a peaceful tranquility that’s quickly shattered by the appearance of a big, terrifying monster.
Colorist Matt Wilson controls the shift in tone as the world around these characters changes in a flash. It’s shown in a panel shrouded in red, coinciding with a look of fear in Jonna’s eyes as a massive sound is heard nearby. This is the pivotal moment. Nothing is the same after this. Once this introduction is over, we settle in a year later with some drab and dreary colors. There are a lot of browns and greys, as if the life has been sucked out of the world.
Although they’re up against some crazy obstacles, Rainbow and Jonna are still just kids. Letterer Crank! captures this in the fonts used and how some of the dialogue is shown.
There are quite a few open questions as Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters gets started, but that’s the kind of stuff that will have you coming back for more. There’s no need to explain everything in the very first issue. As it stands, we’ve got an intriguing adventure tale as one sister searches for another in a world where a giant monster could gobble either one of them up at a moment’s notice. Come for the monsters, stay for the heart.
Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 from Oni Press is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.