Xena, Gabrielle and Discord continue their globe-spanning journey, this time with a stop in ROMANIA! The women and children of a village keep coming up missing while the men are being slaughters, and of course, Xena and Gabrielle are determined to help. Discord? Not so much. What will it take for Discord to get into the team spirit? Find out in Xena: Warrior Princess #5 from Dynamite Entertainment.
Writer: Vita Ayala
Artist: Vasco Gorgiev
Letters: Rebecca Nalty
Editor: Nate Cosby
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: August 14, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS: Xena and Gabrielle have always found adventure wherever they travel and they travelled a lot. After a conflict between the gods Discord and Strife, which results in a depowered Discord, they add the now powerless goddess to their crew and travel to far off places such as Mexico and Alaska! Now they have arrived in another country, and Discord just cannot seem to get into the spirit of the road.
EVERY JOURNEY BEGINS…
After their previous journeys, the trio of Xena, Gabrielle and Discord have found themselves in a little village near the foot of the Carpathian Mountains. It’s a nice place, quiet, not a lot of kids yelling, plenty of shutters on the windows. In fact, the biggest complaint seems to be the town pulls in the figurative sidewalk before sundown. This is something Discord cannot help but comment on as she and her companions enjoying weak ale at the inn/bar they have found shelter in. Despite her desire to move on, Xena tells her they will be staying to help the villagers figure out where their women and children have gone to and who has been massacring the men in the woods. For compensation, they will be provided with maps of the area to better assist them on their journeys. Discord is completely over tromping about the woods, s she decides to hang back and let the others handle it.
Days later, Xena and Gabrielle have still not returned. Discord is annoyed at this but is still finding trouble to work up the energy to do something about it. With her companion capybara by her side, she gives the barkeep, Sorin, a hard time. It is only when two villagers arrive discussing the dead warrior found in the woods that she decides it is time to take action. Sorin stops her, and in a “It’s dangerous to go out alone” moment, gives Discord his father’s equipment. See, his father was a vampire hunter, and Sorin believes The Blood King is responsible for the deaths and disappearances that have been plaguing the village. In full on adventure mode, Discords departs for the wilderness. It is not long before she has to contend with a pack of werewolves who chase her to a creepy castle worthy of a Hammer horror film. Inside, she finds her companions and they are really, really happy to see her! Wait a minute, they are happy to see her?
…WITH SOMEBODY COMPLAINING ABOUT THE ROUTE.
Xena: Warrior Princess is one of those properties from a time when the media geek love was a barren landscape and we were happy to get anything that was not a crime, medical or a reality television show. While the character first appeared in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Season One, Episode Nine, entitled “The Warrior Princess,” she quickly took off as a fan favorite and earned her own show. That show, like the Hercules series from which it spun, was a great mix of the modern and the mythological. It had a grounded voice and an action packed premise that went everywhere from the comedic to the dramatic. With this series from Dynamite Entertainment, Vita Ayala (Livewire, The Wilds) nails that sort of easy dialogue. The voice of the characters fits the Xena mold, and the ease with which it reads is something that will have you searching the streaming services for a live action injection. She takes the format of the show, a series of one and done adventures with an underlying plot arc, and adapts it to this issue well. She even leaves a little swerve at the end to hint that maybe, just maybe, not all has been wrapped up as nice and neat as hour heroines may believe. Her Discord (the goddess, not the app) dialogue is wonderfully privileged, and brings the character out. Additionally, it was nice to have a story in which Discord was the focus. I love Xena and Gabrielle, but different points of view often make for the best stories.
The artwork for this issue is Vasco Gorgiev (Astro, Shifted). Gorgiev has a very loose style and it empowers the story by putting a foot solidly in the whimsical department. His panel designs, aggressive cinematic framing, and the consistent look make him a talent to keep an eye on in the future. There are a few little anatomy glitches here and there, but nothing to make a major deal out of. The art fits the story and it adds to the script, which is always a plus.
On more note, and it is in regards to the covers. Rachael Stott and Paulina Ganucheau do great work, and any reader would be proud and happy to own one. They are great works of art. But, by Joxer’s Jolly Jock Strap, I love the David Mack covers the best!
BOTTOM LINE: FUN AND FRIENDLY
The live –action version of Xena learned to successfully walk the tightrope of being sexy but not sexist, action packed but thoughtful, funny but not caricature. Working on that foundation, the comic have become a distilled version of those great qualities, and Vita Ayala grabs onto that legacy with gusto. Combined with the art of Vasco Gorgiev it makes for a highly entertaining comic.
Villagers and vampires and vamps, oh my! XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS #5 avoids the pitfalls of licensed comics and delivers on the entertainment.
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Xena: Warrior Princess #5
The trio of warrior women continue their travels across the world, and this is a fine jumping on point for fans and new readers alike.