REVIEW: Swords of Sorrow: Masquerade & Kato One Shot

G. Willow Wilson, Erica Schultz (w) 
Noah Salonga (a) 
Billy Tan (c)
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: 05/27/2015

Dynamite’s  summer crossover continues apace with the next pairing of heroines. This time, Masquerade is on a case which is rudely interrupted by the wayward Black Beauty (see Swords of Sorrow #1 for details).

What follows is a car chase of a different type, the obligatory argument between the two lead characters  in between which Masquerade receives her sword.

Now, I was critical of G. Willow Wilson’s other all female affair, from last week, A-Force and whilst this issue may not be ground breaking but it does offer another chance for Wilson to impress. I have to say, the work here is a lot more interesting than A-Force. It could be that as I don’t have any knowledge of Masquerade, I find the character fresher than the oft read Marvel girls. It could be the weight of expectations; with Swords I had none so it’s easier to be surprised. Either way, the script and dialogue reads well, with Kato’s somewhat brusque manner bringing a smile to my face.  Speaking of Kato, I am a tad disappointed with the perception of Kato as a sidekick. It kind of reads like Wilson/Schultz feels the same, but in execution, with the majority of the monologue coming from Masquerade, Kato falls squarely into the rank of “along for the ride”.

Noah Salonga is on art duties. I like his work. I am a fan of artists that complete their work by inking as I feel that allows for greater control of the images they want use and as such implies a true partnerships between writer and artist. Salonga’s work contains clean lines and some solid action pieces, which may have been stronger if a better camera angle was used for some of the panels. Looking at independent books as a whole, it seems that the artists try and show the whole character, from head to toe, in panel. A more focused approach may lead to more dynamism which in turn would help the story flow. Also, I would say that whilst the heroines and the villain-ones Purgatori are drawn well, the same can’t be said for the backing cast.  The hoodlums are all interchangeable. The colours used by Dinei Ribiero may seem dark but they do fit the overall feel of the book, featuring as does crime and the supernatural.

I am quietly enjoying Swords. This one shot does exactly what a tie in book should do. It introduces two of the many heroines and then redirects the story back to the main story. Fans of either character will pick up the book and for those who may have worried about the cost of buying a myriad of books, with diminishing quality can rest assured that Dynamite have managed to curb those fears both by producing a one shot rather than a mini series and of the work Wilson, Schultz & Salonga have put in.

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