Launching today, Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters is an all-ages miniseries from Chris and Laura Samnee, Matt Wilson, and Crank filled with action and monsters. An entirely new world worth exploring, the series is about a girl named Rainbow trying to find her sister Jonna after she may or may not have been eaten. Monsters now roam the planet and people are suffering close to extinction, but that won’t stop Rainbow from seeking out her sister. It’s a series that’s gorgeously rendered and opens with a story well worth exploring.
The first thing you’ll notice when reading this work is how gorgeously the environments are rendered. Samnee draws an exceptional world that feels layered, drawing you into the story through various environments, cities amongst the jungle, and good use of foreground and background to create a layering effect. The opening pages introduce us to the lush landscape, which is harshly juxtaposed later when Rainbow is seeking out her sister. It’s basically Eden to start this book, but quickly things go from angelic to dangerous as Jonna awakens something with their acrobatic running through the jungle.
The first twelve pages of this book read like a great 10-minute opening stinger to a television program you know nothing about. We’re introduced to the main characters only by sight and soon see Jonna bring a fight to a giant red monster they seemingly have no way of winning. In these silent moments, we get the understanding Rainbow is worried for her sister Jonna, and that Jonna is fearless. From there, the book cuts to black and we’re introduced to a shantytown set a year later.
It’s in these scenes we see how bad it is thanks to the muck people live in with nothing but tents scattered about. The creative team expertly places interesting types amongst Rainbow, who is still seeking her sister, like worried old folks or a man with pegleg. At this point, it’s fairly mysterious where we are or who anyone is, but Laura and Chris Samnee have done well to create interest through the juxtaposition of a lush world now turned on its head. There is still hope in the people through, which we can see clearly through an elder who is Rainbow’s friend. Via body language, dialogue, and careful pacing the creative team captures the delicate nature of where people are at and how they care for one another best they can. It adds a warmness and humanity to the characters.
This is the kind of story that demands your attention and makes you insufferable for more. Could it have shown us more about the greater world, or more from Jonna? Probably, but it’s trying to pique your interest by not showing too much. Two glorious double-page spreads of the monster in this issue will certainly drive your imagination–like where it came from, why is it so big, and what does it want–and you’re left by the issue’s end with very little. Likely when collected it’ll be a non-issue, but as far as first issues there isn’t quite enough known about Rainbow, Jonna, or the world to form a strong opinion. It’s leaning very hard on the hook, so to speak.
Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters is a good first issue, dazzling with its lush opening world and driving your interest with many mysteries. Patient readers will love what we’ve been given knowing a vast world of monsters and adventure awaits. Jonna is an imaginative world that offers epic scale and mystery in equal measure.
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