Gail Simone and Sergio Davila bring readers their take on crossover events as female warriors from Dynamite’s pantheon of titles prepare for the ultimate battle.
Previously in Swords of Sorrows: This is the first issue, but keep in mind Dynamite has been releasing books featuring the characters from this series for years now, so a little knowledge of Jana, Red Sonja, Dejah Thoris, Lady Greystone (Jane), Kato, Jennifer Blood, Irene Adler, Lady Zorro, and Vampirella may help.
IS IT JUST ME?
I don’t know how 2015 became the year of major multiverse crossover events, but Convergence, Secret Wars, and Swords of Sorrow have all landed in April/May. It is a bizarre because the general premise running through each is so similar to one another, one could almost point to a conspiracy between the publishers. In this event, The Traveller and her Courier hand out Swords of Sorrow to some of the major female heroes of the Dynamite Universe in order to fight a growing army of bad gals from the DU recruited by The Prince. This issue jumps around quite a bit as we are first introduced to the central heroes and their predicaments, and then again as the Courier delivers the swords with ominous warnings of a coming battle. Though the issue jumps quickly and unexpectedly, Simone is able to interject humor and pathos into the characters and situations that make the issue something enjoyable to read.
The most difficult part of this issue is that new readers who don’t know all of the characters may be a bit lost. Even though character’s full names are used, the issue would benefit (like Convergence and Secret Wars) with a page explaining who these people are. The second problem, which will probably be explored further in coming issues, is why the Traveller, who is a blue skinned female, and The Prince, who is the worst kind of dude-bro misogynist, are fighting. The only thing we do know is that each side is picking their team to do battle, and the best warriors are all female. There are tie-in issues to this series, but there is nothing that indicates we are supposed to check out Swords of Sorrows Chaos Prelude, etc.
Even though the big bad is a guy, I’m glad the upcoming battles aren’t boys vs. girls, and we are just seeing good vs. evil. I’m still curious as to why everyone is fighting, but that’s why there is an issue #2 coming up.
FLIP FLOP ON THE ART
Even though the writing duties on this series are all female driven, Sergio Davila steps up to tackle the art in this first issue. The overall art direction is great in this issue, and jumping around from fantasy, to modern, to Victorian settings allows Davila to really show how versatile he is. There are real moments of brilliance in this issue; whether it is Jana running away from a dinosaur, or Red Sonja and Tars Tarkis fighting one another, there is a lot of action pieces that totally work. On the flip side, there are also some panels where the characters are stiff and the actions don’t look natural, but those instances are few.
My concerns with Dynamite coloring style remain as everything is high contrast, with dark areas becoming really muddy and well lit areas with heavy inking.
What I really like about his issue is that it doesn’t devolve into a bunch of T&A shots.
BOTTOM LINE: THE BEST OF THE MULTIVERSE EVENTS
With a month plus of Convergence under my belt, and Secret Wars already days old, Swords of Sorrow seems like the event that I will like the most -partly because I’m very familiar with the pulp characters, but also because the worlds these characters are from aren’t about to be completely killed off (yet). If you love Gail Simone’s writing, and love the characters, grab the first issue now and get on board the train of a crossover event that seems somewhat self aware of what is going on.
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