ARC Review: Man-Eaters Volume 1 by Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk & Lia Miternique

Man-Eaters Volume 1Man-Eaters Volume 1 by Chelsea Cain

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Adolescent girls can be real monsters. Maude is twelve, about the age some girls turn into flesh-eating wild cats. As her detective dad investigates a series of strange mauling attacks, Maude worries she may be the killer.
Collects #1-4

Includes the informative survival handbook, “Cat Fight! A Boys’ Guide to Dangerous Cats.”
Plus never-before-published extra content.

Warnings: gore, body horror, anatomical drawings

A satirical story about a world where teenage girls can turn into predatory cats during their period, Man-Eaters dives deep into the culture of subtle and overt hate direction towards women. The tone of the graphic novel seems simple, especially since it is focused on a teen who lives with her detective father and whose mother is an officer in the S.C.A.T. (an investigate branch that goes after, well, man-eaters), and who may be turning into a killer cat herself. It starts off with a series of grisly murders, committed by the predators that emerge when a teen girl is on her period – which I must say, is the most overt euphemism for the girl-on-her-period condescension) and how Maude is watching the world react to it.

What makes this graphic novel special is that it makes such a good effort to be immersive – Maude’s world is an exaggerated presentation of ours, and the setting is made up well with the TV reports, the ‘advertisement pamphlets’ that are sprinkled throughout this book, as well as a whole boys’ magazine style issue that is basically cat-hate propaganda. Besides misogyny, it also calls out consumerism, fervent capitalism – as is evident by the addition of estrogen to water supply (which essentially is a forced form of birth control for everyone, even if I can’t see how it will realistically work considering the fragile homeostasis of hormones), and the resultant industry that springs around it.

There are adverts for products that protect the widdle men from the Big Bad Estrogen, including cleaning sprays that promise to kill 99% estrogen in the air (by the way, estrogen is a lipid, not a living organism so this is already consumer fraud) , water and soda that is estrogen-free (which is what Maude and her friends like to indulge in). Additionally, there is segregation of boys from girls – with boys camps that teach them survival skills to protect them from cats (more like house cats, not wild cats), advice columns for teen boys who are scared of their sisters, unisex bathrooms being nixed because boys are afraid to be in the same bathroom as girls. The last one made me uncomfortable because it is too close to the trans kids bathroom issue, and nowhere does the book even suggest what the trans kids are feeling about this whole mess. Like, are there trans boys who are probably on their period because they get to use the boys’ products, or are they relegated to the girls’ ones because they may be menstruating? What about non-binary kids – where do they go during such a segregation? Do teens who are on hormone therapy take blockers?

For all the details that this graphic novel puts in, it still feels a bit blind when it comes to trans inclusivity, even if the main message was supposed to be feministic satire. It is still a good immersive read, with artwork that includes mix media to create a realistic feel.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Image Comics, via Edelweiss.

View all my reviews

Buy links

Amazon | The Book Depository | Wordery

Releases on March 5, 2019

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