Swords of Sorrow #1 (Comics Review)

Dynamite Entertainment is not a publisher to shy away from doing crossovers and events every now and then. Sometimes you have crossovers such as Tarzan and John Carter, or Red Sonja and Witchblade or even Sherlock Holmes and Red Sonja and Vampirella all together fighting against a Hyborean villain of all things. I love reading crossovers and event books, primarily for the reason that they always have an exciting cast of characters where I’m not really familiar with many of them. Tarzan? Nope. Witchblade? Not at first. Vampirella? Not really. And Dynamite has a good track record with these things, so it makes for a much better experience that way too.

And the latest crossover/event from the publisher is Swords of Sorrow, a massive event that brings together heroes and villains from across worlds and timelines in an all-out battle. You have characters such as Red Sonja, Vampirella, Dejah Thoris, etc fighting to defend all of reality against Hel, Purgatori, Chastity and others. This could all be easily summed up as a feminist crossover given the incredible number of (great) female characters represented, and both the writing by Gail Simone and the art by Sergio Davila is absolutely top-notch.

Swords of Sorrow 001The first issue here starts off on a very simple note: two kids in a forest, playing some game when suddenly one of our many heroines comes barreling through, warning them to get out of the way, since there is a huge and lumbering T-Rex on the way. One hell of a start and it helps Gail to really get going with the story. And the story such as it is, is about the introduction to the main lineup of the good girls: Jana the Jungle Girl, Vampirella, Red Sonja, Dejah Thoris, Malina Kato and Jennifer Blood. They are brought in by the woman named Traveller to fight a war for her, a war for which she needs not soldiers but generals, a war to be fought against a man who is raising his own group of special women: Purgatori, Chastity Marks, Hel and Catherine Bell.

As an introduction to the forces of the righteous, this is a pretty good idea. I’m not too familiar with Jana outside of Dynamite’s Jungle Girl Season 2 ongoing, or Malina Kato but I know the others pretty well by now, and it is pretty thrilling to see them all come together like this. This has the hallmarks of a traditional comics event in which a central force draws particular individuals together for some reality-shattering event, in order to preserve the order of things, and the fact that all the major players are women, well that’s adding a whole different dimension to things. And the star-cast here is really impressive. Most of the heroines are pulp-staples, especially Red Sonja and Vampirella and even Dejah Thoris whereas the others have only recently come into their own.

Then there’s all the high-octane action. With the exception of perhaps Red Sonja, the other heroines all get some crazy pumping action intros, and that intensity never really lets up as the issue goes on, which is just another reason to love Swords of Sorrow #1 so much. No bullshit of any kind to be found here. Each heroine is placed in her element to start off and then presented with a mystery and an invitation that will see her transform into something else. What’s not to love about this? Gail has done some pretty incredible work with Batgirl and Red Sonja in recent years, and based on this issue, I wouldn’t mind seeing her do some Vampirella or Dejah Thoris comics either. Or even Jungle Girl or Jennifer Blood.

The artist here is Sergio Davila, with colours by Jorge Sutil and letters by Erica Schultz. The cover is by J. Scott Campbell, who is no stranger to drawing female characters for various publishers, and while I kind of have an issue with how Jungle Girl and Dejah are posed in the cover, it is a fairly good composition overall. What really matters here is the interior artwork which is beyond amazing. Given how these characters are generally drawn, and their character designs, you’d expect some NSFW art inside. But that’s not the case. Davila has a good eye for how to pose his characters so as to get the best results and at no point do you feel as if they are… supermodels. No buttshots or spinebreakers that I could tell. Its all natural. And the colours are great too, helping each heroine stand out from the rest, and really bringing out a lot of the details that Davila has put in.

This was pretty damn fantastic.

Rating: 9.5/10

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Posted on May 26, 2015, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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