ManEaters #9 // Review
Summer has arrived. Revolution is in the air. With any luck, the patriarchy will fall. A brochure for Ruminations Recovery Clinic reads: “We Love Women. But we also don’t want them turning into giant angry werepanthers and eat us.” Maude has been taken to Ruminations. She’s being treated for possible pantherism. She and her fellow inmate/patients are planning something in the ninth issue of ManEaters. Writer Chelsea Cain continues to deliver one of the funniest pop socio-political satires in any format with the aid of artist Elise McCall, colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, and supplemental artist Lia Miternique. The team puts together a story of rising tension of political drama peppered by strikingly hilarious bits of humor.
Maude isn’t happy. She’s been taken to a place that advertises like a spa but operates like Guantanamo Bay with a 10:00 pm bedtime. And she’s in Malibu. So...y’know...there’s that. Life in the spa/prison complex is awful. They’re force-read Charlotte’s Web and required to engage in games of Bloodsport. There IS therapy, but it masks something deeper and altogether more sinister as aspects of the brochure make it sound. “Ruminations is owned and operated entirely by men,” the brochure states, “We take women’s health seriously.” Yeah...right. Nothing bad ever came from THAT sort of a set-up.
Cain’s humor is razor sharp in the current political climate. The satire is brilliant enough to constitute the same kind of therapeutic effects that all great satire does. There’s been a recent wave of really oppressive legislation that’s been passed in various states which draw Cain’s satire into sharper focus. As a story of revolution, Cain has a really appealing narrative style that is rising to a really interesting climax. The last 4 pages of the issue deliver the feeling of impending revolution with a kind of static, calm-before-the-storm genius that works on a whole bunch of different levels that are both symbolic and literal.
McCall and Miternique bring the story to the page with the whimsical mix of visual styles that have made ManEaters such a pleasure over the course of the past nine months. With all the different details filling every corner of the page, it’s easy to lose track of the fact that McCall and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg have really come to perfect the way that interpersonal drama is rendered. The emotion feels very, very vivid in the faces of nearly all of the characters even when seen from a great distance in big group shots. There’s a clever economy of line in McCall’s work that allows Rosenberg’s colors to plenty of room to breathe.
Cain and company continue to push the medium in a direction far more novel than anything else in comics today. With the plot arc playing out the way it is, there’s clearly some kind of revolution coming. It’ll be interesting to see if the series can maintain its edge if that happens. So much of ManEaters’ appeal lies in the power of the matriarchal dystopia. When it’s openly challenged, the power dynamic in the series is going to force the series in a different direction. I think fans of the series are in good hands. Cain and company haven’t given any indication of the series being anything other than deeply entertaining.