Her Little Reapers is the second volume of Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s graphic novel trilogy, The Night Eaters. Coming from the super talented award-winning team behind Monstress, my expectations were high as this supernatural tale picked up from the end of volume 1 (She Eats the Night) and continues the struggles of Milly and Billy Ting, twins who have just discovered that there is more to their life than what they thought and they need to juggle the difficulties of living in pandemic hit world whilst coming to grips with their newly discovered demonic lineage.
Her Little Reapers has all the dark beauty you’d expect from Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda. The artwork and lettering, just like in Monstress, are perfectly synced with the writing and the mood captured in the story. It is eerie, dark, and beautiful all at once and fans of the previous work will not be disappointed. Reading at night, I was genuinely creeped out by the possessed dolls and demons in the story. The demons and monsters portrayed here are suitably scary and wouldn’t go amiss in something like Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and give of some serious Lovecraft vibes. The horror is always there, leaking through the pages even when Milly is trying her best to live a normal life and cope with the struggles that brings with it. Whilst the horror permeates throughout, the truly scary thing is that if you strip away the horror dressing, the villainy and evil would still be terrifying and all too real. The story has people abusing their position and influencing people, murdering those who stand against them. It is an all too human tale with the dark beauty of horror cloaking it and that makes it all the more brilliant.
Her Little Reapers also deals with the difficulties of growing up between two cultures. This is made even more difficult and pronounced by the fact Milly and Billy are having to deal with the uncomfortable truth that they are also part demon and their parents have kept things from them to, in their eyes, keep them safe and out of danger. In doing so, they have, in the twins’ eyes, made things worse by not giving them the tools to face the challenges of being caught between two worlds. This intergenerational dissonance is something that is beginning to be explored across all media (Everything, Everywhere, All at Once won the Oscar for Best Picture for its amazing work applying fantasy trappings to this story), and the conflict between the parents and their adult children who each feel they know best when caught between two cultures and generations. This adds a further layer to a brilliant story and Her Little Reapers brings in a bigger supporting cast with characters able to bring up some of these issues and get the audience thinking (Uncle Bee is a personal favourite of mine!).
A brilliant graphic novel that looks at the horrors both in our world and outside it, Her Little Reapers provides scares with a heart in a compelling story with beautiful and eerie imagery. It does what good horror does best and gets its audience to look at the issues in the world around us and shines a light on the darkness of humanity. Her Little Reapers opens the world up that was introduced in She Eats the Night and I cannot wait to see what happens in the final volume as the twins’ epic journey continues!