Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters had an incredible first story arc, recently wrapped up and released in trade paperback, that was dazzling with its lush world and visuals. That collection houses the first four excellent issues, and in the second arc, Rainbow has taken center stage as she attempts to save her sister Jonna. The question is, does she need saving?
Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters is the kind of comic I wish existed when I was a kid. It transports you into a world that blends fantasy, a dystopian situation, and characters with a ton of heart. That goes for supporting characters and even bad guys too. Chris and Laura Samnee have crafted a world that is incredibly rich and teeming with life. It’s so rich in fact, you might wish for it to be adapted into a cartoon, video game, or movie. That trend continues in this issue, which takes Rainbow through an adventure of her own that takes small moments in her hour-long journey within this issue and makes them feel big.
This issue is a reminder that insanely high stakes or epic splash pages aren’t necessary to create tension, drama, and intrigue. Closeups of the cakes, pies, and cheeses that Rainbow sees up close increase the anticipation of Rainbow going for broke and attempting to snag food since she has no money. Or in another instance, across three panels we see Rainbow close a sheet, take a beat in fear, and then in the final panel progress off the page.
Some might expect more plot progression, but when the little things are done so well it’s hard to not soak in every panel. There’s a fantastic double-page layout of Rainbow entering an indoor marketplace, walking amongst the stalls, and eventually finding herself downstairs. It’s fun to track Rainbow through the scene while also taking in the creative and colorful surroundings.
Speaking of color, Matthew Wilson’s colors enhance the scenes quite a bit. The book opens at night, and the choice of blues to convey the nighttime setting gives the scene a somber, cool look. That suits Rainbow’s state of mind as she’s alone and hungry. The bright light above Jonna in a full-page splash starts yellow, but then bleeds into orange stars in a cool way. There are little details like this, even interesting hues used in sound effects, that are pleasing to the eye. In some cases these details serve a storytelling function, like how Rainbow is cast in blue in the outdoors with the bright lights of indoors peeking in front of the people walking in front of her.
The only negative might be the B-plot that cuts away from Rainbow. It’s important to check in on other plots, but it breaks up the near-perfect sequence with Rainbow.
Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters is multifaceted as it features a clean and pleasing art style, and an all-ages story that has you rooting for the hero even in the most mundane of moments. On top of this, longtime readers can find little details and visual ideas at work that are new. It’s a comic that’s endearing, fun, and not to be missed.
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