The pitfalls of teenage womanhood have never been more dangerous. Your Major Spoilers review of Man-Eaters #1 awaits!
Writer: Chelsea Cain
Artist: Kate Neimczyk
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 26, 2018
Previously in Man-Eaters: A mutation in Toxoplasmosis causes menstruating women to turn into ferocious killer wildcats, easily provoked and extremely dangerous. As panic spreads and paranoia takes root, the fate of the world rides on the shoulders of one twelve-year-old girl.
IN A WORLD MUCH LIKE OUR OWN
The first page of this comic is presented as an official government warning from the “Ministry of Trouble”, warning readers of recent cat-attacks in their area and also cleverly hiding the issue’s credits. Our story opens with a cute comic, written and drawn by our protagonist, twelve-year-old Maude. It’s the story of how Tampon Woman, played by a tampon, battles the evil Mister Misogny to a halt, giving us a look at Maude’s world. She directly addresses the reader with some more exposition, explaining how she and her police officer dad live and the world in which she has grown up, one where menstruation is chemically suppressed by government mandate, as certain girls were turning into carnivorous were-cats. There’s also some were-cat activity in the area, as some girls are unaffected by the additives to the water and air (!!), giving us a few relatively graphic death scenes in these pages. As the issue ends, the seriousness of the situation comes to the forefront, as Maude gets her period, leaving us with a last page cliffhanger of her shock…
THIS IS AN INTRIGUING START
It’s actually hard for me not to compare this book to ‘Bitch Planet’, another Image title with a similar satirical take on gender politics. The best part of this comic, though, is Maude. Equal parts cute and snarky, she provides incisive commentary on her world, family and the dangers to come, even if it’s clear that some of her perspective is limited. Cain’s script delivers a whole lot of punch and a great deal of world-building in the course of twenty-odd pages, including some hilariously cutting material at the end, featuring “actual” articles and materials about the Cat Attack Panic. As for the art side, this issue is just plain gorgeous. Neimczyk is able to go from cute tweenage doodling to deadly serious animal attacks and back, with more than a few punchlines coming in how the visuals match up to the writing (or don’t, in one case.) Maude’s expressions are wonderfully rendered, and the most terrifying moment in the issue is delivered by the shocking visual of a doting mom suddenly pulling a gun on her twelve-year-old daughter, then handing her off to the S.C.A.T. (Strategic Cat Apprehension Team). I love that acronym a lot, and it’s exemplary of the tongue-in-cheek humor that makes this issue really sing.
BOTTOM LINE: AN ENJOYABLE COMIC
In short, Man-Eaters #1 has all the things that made Cain & Neimczyk’s sadly-truncated and much-missed ‘Mockingbird’ so much fun, with some important subtext and a truly likeable protagonist, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. I expect that there will be folks who are mad about the clear feminist agenda in these pages, but frankly, that’s their problem, as this is a very enjoyable comic book and I recommend it highly.
Oh, and that cover is pretty amazing.