Family means different things to different people. Maybe its Christmas mornings, maybe its vacations to the beach, maybe it’s a journey of vengeance; to each own. Join Dag and his daughter Elsbeth as they continue to find family in their own way, in Sword Daughter #2 from Dark Horse Comics.
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Mack Chater
Colorist: Jose Villarrubia
Cover Artist: Greg Smallwood
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Previously in Sword Daughter: Dag woke up after a ten-year sleep to find the two-year-old daughter he knew now a twelve-year-old girl that he couldn’t fathom. But he knew that his wife had been killed, he had a name of the killers, and he had a daughter who seemed to have little hesitance to kill. Now, father and daughter take the next steps on the road for vengeance, but even the most planned journey has its unexpected stops along the way.
THE JOURNEY TO REVENGE BEGINS IN EARNEST
Dag awakens one morning to find his daughter gone, and he beings to wonder if his road will continue without. His plans will take him across the seas, and it is only by chance that his daughter makes it to the boat as he is about to board it. Elsbeth is still silent, still standoffish, and still determined to follow her father on whatever path he sets for them.
On their way to Orkney, they find themselves in Shetland and accused of murder. But despite the accusation, the authorities know it wasn’t Dag or his daughter, and a deal is struck, passage to Orkney in return for finding the murder. We find that Dag’s skills go beyond the blade, his daughter’s as well.
EVEN A VENGEFUL HEART CAN SHOW MERCY
Brian Wood (Northlanders, Conan the Barbarian, DMZ) continues to weave a tale of vengeance balanced with the discovery of what it means to be a father, and a daughter. He takes a hard, cold look at what a man is willing to do for his child, and how those actions shape a child’s perception of their father.
The art is still as much a delight as it was in the first issue. Mack Chater (Briggs Land, Six) has a hand that lays a cold line, and it transmits a feeling of open desolation that you can hear on the page. No flashy sword battles, no ornate costumes, these are a people who subsist on the earth as much as the earth subsists on them. Jose Villarrubia colors these pages with a muted tone that further brings a sense of foreboding to the world and makes you want to delve deeper into it.
BOTTOM LINE: MORALITY CAN BE BASED ON FEARS
This issue moves the general story along and never get the feeling that it is a side step from our future destination. Dag is a man of his time, hard, determined, and unsure of how to be a father. Sadly, Elsbeth is also a product of her surroundings, and you feel that she is opening up to him more. There is much less of the pictograph dialogue she used throughout the first issue, but there are still no words, save those which she provides as narrator. But her narration is wonderful and sets the mood for the story as much as it gives you little tells about her life.
I do have a possible correction from my review of the first issue. In that review, I believed that Elsbeth had been taken care of by nuns as a child. It seemed odd to me that she was a ward of the church but still able to take care of her sleeping father. This issue clarifies, it seems that the older Elsbeth, our narrator, is the one in the care of the nuns. Any confusion otherwise is completely my own misunderstanding. This is a story of a woman looking back, not of a child looking forward. My apologies if I caused any confusion.
Sword Daughter #2 continues a hard look at the price of revenge and the difficulties of fatherhood, with a dose of bloody sword art thrown in. Make sure you pick it up and follow along.