REVIEW: Swords of Sorrow #4 (of 6)

Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Sergio Dávila

Dynamite Comics’ ongoing heroine drama crosses the midway point with issue 4 of the main story shipping this week.

Looking at the series as a whole, if the first three issues were the first half of the story with the heroines partnering up and coming to conclusion that a trinity of warriors were needed, then this book serves to kick start the second half of the story with the culmination of this minor plot point.  As such, this issue acts like a kind of de facto first issue again, with the start of a new arc, with which the series will conclude.

Gail Simone, who has been hitting her stride in the main Red Sonja book, continues with an over busy first act to proceedings, with a couple of the heroines having second thoughts regarding their quest.  These doubts resurface later in the book in, what I assume to be, an attempt to show character continuity.  Reading it however, the script in these instances seems a little over wrought and lacklustre.  I am a little disappointed with how this issue reads, but looking at the bigger picture, in every mini series  or multi part story arc, there are always transitions issues.  It can’t just be set piece upon set piece.  On the positive side, there are a couple of revelations in the book that should help with an understanding of the “why fors” of both sides in this battle.

Over busy is an understatement when it comes to the art.  There are a lot of female characters in here and each one vies for panel time.  Simone allows this as the group splits up to get their respective trinity member. Sergio Davila tries to keep up, but with so many characters, panels seem compressed together, rather than flowing.  Its not that the art is necessarily bad, it’s just cluttered.  The flow of the panels is not helped by the color scheme of which it seems Jorge Sutil has gone for a dark on dark approach for the most part.  This is a shame as the earlier pages in the book look so much clearer and crisper.

I have seen a lot of the Swords books, whether it be the main story or the tie-ins and I am sorry to say, I am getting a tad bored with it all.  Some of this is down to the pacing of the series.  I understand with six issues for the main story there is plenty of time to spread the number of tie-in books out but has this strategy worked?  Look at this book for example, Red Sonja and Jungle Girl are best pals, yet have only recently met in their tie-in book.  I wish I had the answer.  It might be a simple case of too much product, a charge that a lot of the comic publishers can be guilty of, not just Dynamite.  I will keep reading (and reviewing) this series if only because to fail to do so would mean I have wasted my time.  I only hope the penultimate and final issues are worth the effort.

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