Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sword Of Sorcery #1-3 - A Review

I've somehow managed to go three months without reviewing what is easily the best original anthology comic released in recent memory.  I thought I had reviewed the first issue, but hadn't.  I just recently bought a copy of the second issue.  And the third issue came out this past week.  Know then that I only review these books together as a means of catching myself up and not because each issue isn't worthy of individual attention.

The main focus of Sword of Sorcery continues to be Christy Marx's revival of Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld.  Over the past three issues, Marx has slowly given us glimpses of The Gemworld. it's people and its' politics.  There are a number of houses, all with their own functions and magical powers.  There's allegiances, treachery and all manner of drama to equal anything one might find in the Game of Thrones series.  Imagine Tamora Pierce writing She-Ra and you might have some idea of what this book is like.

We've seen this sort of thing before in countless books, comics and cartoons aimed at young adults.  The hero raised in seclusion by one parent or a foster parent.  They discover the power that is their birthright as a teenager.  They learn of the villain seeking their destruction, because they are destined to overthrow them or take their power.  It's all very Joseph Campbell but Marx infuses this title with enough humor and personality to keep it fresh, though some of the fish-out-of-water humor as Amy adjusts to life in a fantasy world is equally familiar.

Thankfully, the artwork by Aaron Lopresti and Claude St. Aubin is always fresh and exciting.  Most recently seen on Justice League International and Green Lantern Corps respectively, both artists make use of thin pencils and light inks to give this book an open, hopeful appearance. Coupled with the vibrant palette utilized by Hi-Fi, this remains one of the best looking series on the shelves.

Less impressive is the back-up series Beowulf by Tony Bedard.  While the concept of re-imagining Beowulf as a genetically-engineered super-soldier in a post-apocalyptic future is a novel one, the novelty of the concept quickly wore off.  This story might have been serviceable as a one-shot but as a serial, it drags for anyone who knows the original story and can see this is all going even before the monster Grendel's "mother" appears to explain it all for everyone who hasn't read the original epic.  The gorgeous artwork of Jesus Saiz is wasted here.

Despite the back-up being a bit boring, the revival of Amethyst makes interesting reading and thus makes this book worth the buying.  The whole series is available for digital download if your local comic shop doesn't have any back issues.  It's well worth the tracking down and catching-up - believe me!

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