The Night Eaters Vol. 1: She Eats the Night
Marjorie Liu, writer; Sana Takeda, illustrator
Abrams ComicArts, 2022
The first of a trilogy of graphic novels by the creative team behind the Monstress series, The Night Eaters is about Chinese American twins, Milly and Billy, who are struggling to keep their restaurant afloat. They have the help of their parents, Ipo and Keon, who are in town for their annual visit. Having immigrated from Hong Kong before the twins were born the couple has seen a lot, much of which is revealed in the form of flashbacks showing their courtship and early married years.
Ipo is downright cranky to her kids, at one point blowing smoke from her ubiquitous cigarette in their faces, and Keon keeps trying to get her to lighten up. She is clearly obsessed with the rundown abandoned house across the street. It is on the market, but the realtor in charge is doubtful of it ever selling: it's not only ramshackle but also downright creepy. She declares that she has been much too easy on her children, and demands that they spend the weekend with her working on the eyesore.
The work begins in the front yard, where a mysterious skeleton is uncovered, then a bit of investigation reveals that the house was a murder site. Once the trio enters the house mysterious things begin to happen. The kids are unable to leave, and are confronted by some kind of demon. Their mother is revealed as a powerful being who eats demons (hence the book's title), and no one else in the family is really human, either. A lot of shocking revelations which explain some of the earlier action, as well as opening up possibilities for the next installment. Much of the action here is set in a contemporary urban world much less exotic than that of Monstress. Takeda proves adept at characterization before being given spooky settings and demons to illustrate.
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