'Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters' is a Joyous Adventure
The new all-ages monster comic from married couple Chris and Laura Samnee is a gorgeous monster romp that's only just beginning.
As far as apocalypses go, the one depicted in Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters is one I wouldn't mind navigating as long as I had partners as mighty as its two leads by my side. The new all-ages adventure series from married couple Chris Samnee and Laura Samnee (featuring the essential color work and letter work of Matthew Wilson and Crank!) is a gloriously pretty expression that makes the kaiju-riddled environment seem utterly inviting. There is horror here, and death, but the Samnees bring an incredible warmth to the cataclysm through their loving pencils and their equally devoted characters.
Reading Jonna is somewhat like watching Planet of the Apes as a child. You recognize that something ruinous has occurred, but those living through it seem to have it somewhat figured out. Find the right teammate, and you could have a good time here.
Although, finding that partner is the tricky element.
Jonna opens with the titular wild child racing through the treetops. She's in her element, making nature work for her. As she pops from the foliage, a gargantuan red creature consumes the skyline. It's menacing only in its alien presence; it should not be where it is. Otherwise, the beast is righteously majestic.
Our hero doesn't think twice about the creature. She sees the colossus, and she leaps. Into the brutal maw she goes, or maybe not? We don't know. From there, the comic jumps one year later.
Jonna's sister Rainbow is on the hunt. The two have been separated ever since that fateful day. She knows Jonna is out there somewhere. She's borderline terrified regarding the dangers her little sis may face, but she's also confident that they'll reunite with their father someday.
Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters beautifully balances danger and hope. We're not sure why these giant beasts appeared, bringing terrible wrath to us poor bugs below. They've forced humanity underground, smashing petty personalities with the optimistic and the pugilistic. As all disasters do, the titans require the leftover human scraps to congregate and find workable solutions. Some folks thrive, some folks wither.
The Samnees dedicate Jonna to their three daughters, and their love for them is all over this comic book. Through their depictions of Jonna and Rainbow, you sense not just affection but awe for what these children can accomplish together. Not to sound cheesy (but also, screw cynicism, if you have any ounce of that in you, stay away), but children are the future. They represent infinite possibility, or unpossibility.
As the adults in Jonna strategize and weaponize against the monsters, Rainbow and her sister survive. Yes, there is uncertainty between the two siblings. Jonna is an adopted sister, and there is a mystery waiting to reveal itself in her, but biological status offers zero barrier. Jonna is Rainbow's family. Only when they're apart do the monsters exude gloom. United, nothing seems too perilous.
Like all Chris Samnee comics, Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters moves at top speed. His panels operate like the branches beneath Jonna's feet. They're speedways for the reader to race and the comic climaxes before you can catch a breath. When done, I suggest a re-read. Take your time with the panels. Check those corners. Lots of intricate surprises pepper these pages.
And, as mentioned in the first paragraph, Matthew Wilson and Crank! are critical to Jonna's success. The colors contain the book's mood. The letters scream emotion. And, Oni Press improves on the single issues with the trade paperback, presenting the art with deep, coarse pages. This digest feels good in your hands.
If I had to be a jerk about anything, it's that four issues are not nearly enough. Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters feels like the start of something epic, and what you have here in this first trade paperback is but a taste. When you hit that final panel, you'll shout, "What? No!" You need more, more, more. Waiting for the next trade to release in Spring 2022 is unacceptable. You're gonna need to go monthly with this one. Lucky for you, issue five just dropped today.
Quickie Review: Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters is an affirmative, joyous action-adventure. Rainbow and Jonna will instantly attach themselves to your heart, and you'll find yourself wishing to be with them in their monster-mashed world. But don't worry, you are. You're reading this comic book, my friend. And you won't want to stop. 9/10 (point deducted due to GIVE ME MORE COMICS!)
Bonus Review: This review is Brad's opinion. If you'd like to read Lisa's similarly positive take on Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters, click on over to Comics Bookcase and read her review.
Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters Volume 1
Writers: Chris Samnee and Laura Samnee
Artist: Chris Samnee
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
On Sale: NOW!
Synopsis: Rainbow has been looking for her younger sister, Jonna, for over a year—since the monsters appeared and the world began to dry up. Going from settlement to settlement, Rainbow asks every survivor she meets: Have you seen my sister?
Then, one day, Jonna's spotted out in the wild: filthy, but very much alive—and strong. Strong enough to knock back a towering monster with one punch. All this time, she's been surviving. On her own. Without Rainbow. Without anyone.
But there are more dangers in the world than monsters, and when the two sisters reunite, they'll discover the secrets of this new and terrifying world firsthand.