REVIEW: Swords of Sorrow: Dejah Thoris & Irene Adler #1 (of 3)

Leah Moore (w)
Francesco Manna (a)
Jay Anacleto (c)
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: 06/17/2015
As I feared, it seems that we have come to a bit of an impasse regarding quality of ideas with this Swords tie-in.  As with Convergence tie-ins had the repeated dome going down, here we have another fall through the dimension walls, that normally separate our feisty heroines.

This time around, Irene Adler is sent at the behest of Mr. Holmes, (no not that one, the brother), to tame a lion that appeared and ate the Prime Minister.  Fans will of course recognise that the lion she seeks isn’t from deepest darkest Africa, but instead from deepest reddest Mars. So if its of on a quest, of sorts, through London to capture the beast.  Of course, this is where the now ubiquitous scenery change occurs as the two heroines swap environs.

Leah Moore, daughter of comic book genius Alan Moore, is on hand for the story, I assume due to her history with Sherlock Holmes. Based on the above facts, I find the book disappointing.  The formula is getting a tad old and I struggle to see how this particular story can run for three issues.  That may not be Moore’s fault; she may be working under certain editorial or format constraints.  What is her fault, however is the god awful monologue.  It seems that characters just want to wax lyrical, telling us the reader what is happening like some sort of crazy Twitter feed or Facebook updates.

Francesco Manna is the artist who helps paint the pictures from which the characters are able to supply their commentary.  I have to say, Manna’s work seems to work better on Mars and with Dejah Thoris.  With Dejah Thoris, what you see is pretty much what you get.  Is there a more half naked woman in any comic world than Thoris?  That in itself is part of her success and her popularity which helps the John Carter book.  I don’t have a problem with either how she looks or how she is portrayed, what I do take issue with is that behind a glorious Jay Anacleto cover, she barely (no pun intended) makes an appearance.  Manna’s London is a dark and dreary place, even with the glamour connected with Adler.

swords1Swords started out well but has recently fallen on sorrows of its own. The pairings seem to be aimed at “fish out of water” tropes, rather than maybe finding a more suitable pairing. Dynamite are obviously hoping that the friction caused by the unsuited pairings will add to the story.  Unfortunately, with a number of licences in place, no one wants their character to become second fiddle.  This means that editors have taken the stance that friction is kept at a minimum, leaving the main thrust of the story  to the main book, which is all well and good, but what about fans who buy the tie-in?  Are readers who want quality stories being disregarded? I hope not but the recent tie-ins may have to contend with the fact that they are turning fans away from the main book.  As it is, if I was a fan of either character in this book, I would be seriously disappointed in how this issue has played out and would keep to their own series.

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