Captain Raader and her old crew have been reunited, but for how long? There’s no time for celebration because the Sidari are on the move and blood is going to spill! Find out more in Swashbucklers: The Saga Continues #5 from Dynamite Entertainment.
Created by: Bill Mantlo & Jackson Guice
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Artist: Andrea Mutti
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Cover: Butch Guice
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: August 29, 2018
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Swashbucklers: The Saga Continues: After Captain Raader Blackthorne and the crew of the Star-Shadow were thought killed after the Colonizers destroyed Wartworld, we find, through miraculous means, some actually (eventually) survived and were picked up by salvager Collos Gallen. They find their ultimate sacrifices were not in vain as it inspired the galaxy to overthrow the Colonizers and form a new government. But the return of an old enemy, the Sidari, endangers the galaxy once again. But they soon find out that the Colonizer homeworld is not their target, but Earth.
THE WAR COMES TO EARTH
With the Sidria finding their way to the Earth Dimension, Captain Raader and her fellows rush there to warn them, and are promptly shot down, landing around South Carolina. While Dodger, Domino and Captain Kidd are fighting off the Sidari forces in their neighborhood, Captain Raader is trying to gain her bearings. The government shut them down, and now there is a large force of Sidiari converging on their position. Knowing that her new crewmate Spyeye has the power to detect the enemy, and is their best weapon against them, she forms a plan. Reunited with Domino, Dodger, and Captain Kidd, she orders Collos and Servitor to go with them and try to get away. She plans on using Spyeye to take out the enemies again, but knows that it most likely will mean her death. Her choices are limited, because the Sidaria had conquered the Colonizers centuries before, and the Earth of this dimension is far less sophisticated technologically than they were. The news that Domino brings to the fight doesn’t help, as she tells that President Reagan is going to order a nuclear strike to take out the whole area in an effort to destroy the alien invaders. Now, reunited with her family and her back to the wall, Captain Raader must fight for the future of Earth, with only a handful of crew and an impending nuclear strike on the horizon.
PIRATES, TALKING CATS, AND A LOT OF BOOM
This series is a continuation of Bill Mantlo (Cloak and Dagger, The Champions) and Jackson Guice (Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme, Winter Soldier) created the Swords of the Swashbucklers series for Marvel Graphic Novel #14 back in October of 1984. It later became a twelve issue miniseries which ran from 1985 to 1987? It was ahead of its time, with strong female leads and a fantastical pirate inspired setting that was unlike much else out at the time. Now, Marc Guggenheim (Squadron Sinister, X-Men: Gold) has picked up the writing reins and continued the tale for Dynamite Entertainment. Resurrecting the cast, he attempts to pick up where the original series left off (THIRTY PLUS-YEAR-OLD SPOILER ALERT) almost everyone being dead. Yes, the planet the Swashbucklers had been fighting on blew up, but that leads to an overthrown of the oppressive government, so… yeah. If you think there are problems with continuing from an ending like that, you apparently haven’t read comics much. This issue, scratch that, this series, is full of Deus Ex Machina moments that are almost cringe-worthy. Guggenheim throws the rule book out the window and over literally resurrects the cast in some of the most ballsy creative choices I’ve seen since Aunt May wore a swimsuit in the 1992 Marvel Swimsuit Special. That said, he keeps the characters voices unique and it will be refreshing for long-time fans to see these characters in action again.
Artist Andrea Mutti (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: War, Port of Earth) succeeds in bringing the feeling of epic action to the sequences. He works up detailed art with interesting panel designs that keep the reader engaged, while all the while capturing the look that Jackson Guice achieved in those early tales so long ago. Speaking of Guice, he contributes the cover for this issue, providing a connection to the original series.
BOTTOM LINE: SUCH POTENTIAL, BUT TRIPPED UP BY NECESSITY
I never read the original Swashbucklers, either in the graphic novel or twelve issue series which followed. Nor had I read the prior issues leading up to this one from Dynamite. With those facts in mind, I must admit I had no idea what the hell was going on. I made some calls and hunted down the four issues prior to this to help myself give an educated review. That helped. But even as I reread this issue with more knowledge, that sense of missing something still lingered. Fans of the series’ previous incarnations will love it and cheer at the return of the Swashbucklers. However, new readers may not understand much of what is going on. The inclusion of a “Last Time In…” page would have helped greatly. Leaving little detail out pushed the onus of knowledge onto the reader. It’s a shame, because the concept for the series as a whole is excellent, and you really get the idea that it would make for a blockbuster movie. I mean, a space pirates on the run, an elemental, a talking animal, it might be crazy enough to work. However, as an individual comic, it just misses the mark for me.
SWASHBUCKLERS: THE SAGA CONTINUES #5, strives to deliver big action on an epic scale. Despite some bumps, it remains entertaining with a unique setting and memorable characters. However, it may read better on the whole in a collected edition.