Swords of Sorrow is the summer crossover you SHOULD be buying!

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Swords of Sorrow is Dynamite’s big summer crossover.  I am actually very worried about it getting overshadowed by events like Convergence and Secret Wars. I have talked extensively about my love of Dynamite's other crossover series like Masks and Legendarry. Swords of Sorrow seems to be very much in the same vein, though this time it will be featuring an all female cast. The first two issues come out this week, and I was happy to get the opportunity to review them early.


Warning! These reviews contains quite a few spoilers!

Swords of Sorrow #1

Written by: Gail Simone
Illustrated by: Sergio Davila
Cover by: J. Scott Campbell
Colored by: Jorge Sutil
Lettered by: Erica Schultz

Published by: Dynamite
Cover Price: $3.99

The first issue starts with quick glimpses of some of our cast. We are introduced to Jungle Girl, Red Sonja, Vampirella, Princess Thoris of Mars, Jennifer Blood, Kato, Lady Zorro, Irene Adler and Lady Greystroke. They are being watched by a woman called The Traveler. Traveler wants to recruit them to help her defend the world from a mysterious prince. Traveler sends a courier to deliver a sword to each woman. Once that happens, their worlds seem to start leaking in to each other.

While this is going on, the Prince has a powerful weapon of his own, The Sword of Sorrows. He slices his own arm, and an army rises up from the blood. The Prince seems to be looking for revenge ON ALL WOMEN. I guess he's a Republican.  He also gathers up several lieutenants, all female as well (more on them in the second part of this review).

I thought this issue did a terrific job introducing all the characters. There was a lot of ground to cover here, and Gail Simone managed to give each “genre” it’s own feel. Typically a book like this would have needed some kind of handbook at the end to make the reader feel more comfortable, but it honestly wasn’t needed here. Even for the characters I was less familiar with (like Princess Thoris and Jennifer Blood), I definitely felt like I got enough here to understand who they are.

I also thought the story had a real good hook. It’s simple enough where the reader doesn’t feel like they need to have a ton of information, but also sets up huge potential as we see the various worlds bleeding into each other. You didn’t need to read several issues of several series to get the lead in. Everything is very fast and self-contained here, getting you right to the action. Too often, in order to try and seem more important, you get overly complicated and downright dull plots on these kinds of big stories. The creators of those books seem to forget that this should just be big fun. Simone made us understand there was a big threat to be dealt with, but at the same time, promised that the journey will be a lot of fun. I give her a ton of credit for that.

The art on this issue was also great. There was a lot going on here, switching from dinosaurs to the desert to urban spawl in rapid fire progression throughout the comic. And Sergio Davilla kept up perfectly, putting a ton of detail into this issue. One of my favorite images was a ridiculously cool close up of a vulture.  I can definitely say I never thought I would type that sentence in a review. I also thought that the many female characters in this book all looked incredibly sexy without constantly being in cheesecake poses. Just their natural poise and good looks was more than enough to make them gorgeous in Davilla's hands.

My only real complaint about this issue was that the unnamed Prince seemed a little like a plot device and not a true adversary. He didn't even get a name in either of the Swords of Sorrow books that came out this week, unless I just missed it.. But, we're still early on, and there is plenty of time for them to develop him a little more fully.

I was kind of worried that Swords of Sorrow couldn't possible live up to the hype I had for this book, but Dynamite proved me wrong. This was a great first issue! Can't wait for more!

Title: Swords of Sorrow #1
Written By: Gail Simone
Art By: Sergio Davilla
Company: Dynamite
Price: $3.99
Pros:
  • Fast paced and a lot of fun
  • Introduced a lot of characters without ever feeling exposition heavy
  • Beautiful art that was sexy without being exploitive
Cons:
  • The villain did feel a little flat, especially compared to how much development all the heroes got.
Is it worth your $3.99? 5/5 I really loved this issue. There was so many characters to introduce, and the story was told with a light fun touch. It is going to be very hard for any comic to top this one this week.

Swords of Sorrow: Chaos! Prequel

Written by: Mairghread Scott
Illustrated by: Mirka Andelfo
Cover by: Joyce Chin
Colored by: Chiara Zeppegno & Agnese Pozza
Lettered by: Erick Schultz

Published by: Dynamite
Cover Price: $3.99

Chaos! Prequel was the perfect companion book for Swords of Sorrow #1. Where SoS #1 showed how Traveler gathered the heroes, this book showed us how the Prince gathered us his own lieutenants: Purgatori, Chastity Marks, Bad Kitty, and Mistress Hel. The Prince says he is working on a ritual that will increase his own significant power a thousand-fold. He offers them the potential for great powers or gifts if they will defend him while he sets the ritual up. Whoever serves him best will get their wish granted. Mistress Hel’s wish seems to be to destroy the world and the others along with it, so that should give them some incentive to work harder.

Up front I will say that I didn’t quite like this issue as much as the main series. I suspect a big part of it was that I wasn’t too familiar with any of the characters. It definitely seemed like a bit of a contrivance that while The Traveler picked champions from all over the world and time, the Prince basically stuck to only Chaos! Comics. I would have liked to see Draculina and other characters with more personal ties to our heroes. I also thought the motivation for the Prince’s champions seemed strange. “I have the power to do whatever I want…so I will give ONE of you something awesome. Sorry to the rest of you.” To me, that just screams setting yourself up for betrayal.

But, I still thought this issue worked brilliantly in parallel to the main book. You get a good sense of who these characters are, and why they can be such a dangerous threat. Again, there was a lot to cover here, and it was done with a light touch, never heavy on the exposition. Besides, hot chicks who happen to be demons, vampires, and werewolves are always fun to read about.

The art in this issue was a little more cheesecake that the main book (which is kind of the norm from Chaos!), but I still thought that the female characters were handled very well for the most part. You hear a lot about how badly females are portrayed in comics, and I thought these two issues were a great example of how to do it the right way.

I don't want to sound like I was real down on this comic. It was still very good. It just was a little overshadowed by the main Swords of Sorrow issue. I had read the two back to back, and this book suffered slightly as a result. It still did an excellent job introducing all the characters and giving us some more on our mysterious Prince. Both Swords of Sorrow comics are can't miss this week!

 

Title: Swords of Sorrow: Chaos! Prequel
Written By: Mairghread Scott
Art By: Mirka Andelfo
Company: Dynamite
Price: $3.99
Pros:
  • Works as a terrific companion book to the main series
  • Again, we get a lot of characters introduced without ever feeling bogged down
  • Art was great, though a little more cheesecake.
Cons:
  • The Prince still hasn't gotten much development
  • Not quite as good as the main series, but still an enjoyable comic.
Is it worth your $3.99? 4.5/5  To be honest, there really wasn't anything wrong with this issue, I just happened to like the other comic better.  BUT, I still enjoyed them both! 
Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0