REVIEW: Swords of Sorrow #1(of 6)

Writer: Gail Simone
Art: Sergio Davila
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: 05/06/2015

Swords of Sorrow, sees not just a collection of female characters, but also of an all female writing crew, with the first issue of the main mini series written by long time Red Sonja scribe and overall architect of the series, Gail Simone.

As it’s the first part it’s round-up time. We get to visit the  protagonists in their own habitat before the delivery of their ebony swords and a portal connecting the various world. True, we see more of some more than others, which you’d expect; all though all the characters will have fans, it makes sense to feature the main players in the Dynamite roster. That said, there are tie-in books which will feature partnerships, so if you have a particular favourite am sure you will be catered for.

Simone produces a solid issue. You get to see enough of the world’s to show how different the characters are, allowing them for the most part to move away from the more salacious elements of such an endeavour. This is a strength of Simone’s, writing strong female leads, not caricatures in skimpy clothing whilst also not compromising the aesthetic elements which appeals to a lot of fans. With so many differing considerations in play, it would be easy for one concern to overpower the others, but that doesn’t happen.  With the collision of world’s, we do get a couple of humorous elements, what happens to the Black Beauty for example, giving some much needed slapstick.

The art is by Legenderry artist Sergio Davila and it suits the book brilliantly. With so many characters in so many different locations it would be easy for Davila to miss out the details. That, I am glad to say, is not the case. True the Kato element loses some clarity with all the darkness but for the most his lines are clean, helping to make each character look different, both facially, body type and overall interaction with their own and others world’s. Jorge Sutil provides the colours and does a fantastic job. Again, the Kato element is probably the weakest part, but look at the book as a whole and you can see the skills in play, a jungle, a desert, Victorian times and so on.

Swords of Sorrow starts out well. The premise, storyline, seems sound and the I would assume that with the characters working together in the tie-in’s will mean we may not see much conflict between them. This leads to my other concern. The main series is six issues long, and with tie-ins, the main story could be lost and compression in the main series will occur which may lead to not a lot happening in a couple of books. Also, looking at Convergence, ties-in may differ in quality. However that is a worry for another month.

The idea of the women writing women characters may for some, show that women are strengthening their place in the comic book industry, and Simone does well to build on that, but I kind of feel that the hard work and impact may be reduced for some, by the cover by J. Scott Campbell. I don’t have a problem with it; I love Campbell’s work; but I will be surprised if no one else mentions the Milo Manara-esque style of one of the characters.

That all said, Dynamite have been producing some great pulpy comics and this series is certainly looking to add to their portfolio.

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