MixedPaste... readers hoping for a nuanced exploration of (monstrous) queer identity to accompany Giesbrecht’s gothic world should lower their expectations ... There’s a grand tradition of women and AFAB (assigned female at birth) authors writing horror stories featuring queer male relationships, but The Monster of Elendhaven seems to owe less to Anne Rice or Billy Martin (formerly known as Poppy Z. Brite) than it does to Yaoi, the Japanese manga category for male/male love stories created by and for women ... In the absence of a (com)passionate dark love story or a titillating will-they-won’t-they, the appeal of The Monster of Elendhaven lies in Giesbrecht’s florid prose. It’s delightful to read similes ... There are times, though, when Giesbrecht’s cleverness feels gratuitous ... Complaining about excess in a novel about Magical Oscar Wilde shacking up with Sexy Babadook to commit mass murder is missing the point, though. Giesbrecht has indeed, as the front flap promises, painted a \'darkly compelling fantasy of revenge.\' But just as Johann continuously searches for a pain exquisite enough to leave a lasting mark, queer readers may find themselves feeling curiously unmoved by The Monster of Eldenhaven’s doomed romance.
PositivePaste... zeroes in on the sort of intrinsically Black experience that the industry is finally starting to acknowledge, with a glimpse into a Black beauty salon and the stories and gossip shared over perms and other treatments ... allow[s] Flowers to interrogate intersections of race, class and identity with a perspective that is vital in comics, now more than ever.