Back in May I wrote about the first volume of Monstroleum, a really fun illustrative journey that’s part adventure diary, part bestiary. JFish, AKA Jason Fischer, recently returned for more with volume 2, continuing the harrowing journey of Voluspa the Tall as she endeavors to learn more about the demise of her people at the hand of the Dragon King Smaurin.
Like the first volume, this Monstroleum entry is a further exploration of Jason’s storytelling abilities, and it doesn’t disappoint. The illustrations are fantastic, but they’re best served as visual complements to the text, which makes all the little details in them that much more effective. The world is well fleshed-out, and the fact that you can see bits of other steps in the journey in the backgrounds—ladders lie barely visible in the darkness, precarious staircases crumble, and specters float behind fully-illustrated monstrosities—is icing on the cake.
I previously compared reading Monstroleum to a classic NES instruction manual, but it also reminds me of playing something like Shadowgate. The first-person perspective isn’t lost on the reader; enemies appear just as Voluspa describes the encounter. A Giant Slug peers down from a musty stone wall, Slimes creep toward the reader, and a snarling Wolfen gives you the old side-eye like it just got busted doing somethin’ afoul of the norm.
Monstroleum vol. 2 has its own natural arc to it, ending at just the right moment of respite, but still leaving you with more on the mind. Thankfully you can subscribe to the series so you won’t have to worry about missing the next leg of Voluspa’s increasingly wide-eyed and exciting adventure.
Get individual volumes or subscribe to Monstroleum over at JFish’s website.