When I heard that Dynamite was launching the second volume of Xena: Warrior Princess, I immediately requested this book for a review. And with a creative team like Genevieve Valentine, Ariel Medel, and Nanjan Jamberi, who can blame me? I opened the pdf with haste, excited to see my girls Xena and Gabrielle back to take on the mythological ancient Rome. Unfortunately, though, as I ventured deeper into the story, my heart began to sink.
We are introduced to a couple of starving girls, who Xena and Gabrielle save from an angry mob. And the rest of the issue follows the group as they try to reunite the girls with their missing family. As whole, the story felt forced and heavily episodic. None of the scenes seemed to flow well into one another, and the dialogue, at times, felt clunky. There would be moments where Genevieve started to build up some momentum with amazing dialogue, like the flash-back of the Harpies cut to a confrontation with a Legionnaire, but then would stop dead in her tracks with out-of-pace narrative. There were great ideas here though, and Genevieve did a great job of sprinkling in the obstacles that Xena is up against this time around.
The art for this issue was good. Ariel and Nanjan worked very well together, and they put together a clean book. Every panel was clear, concise, and well-paced, it just wasn’t anything special. There were no distinguishing features that made this book stand-out, and it just blends in with the rest of the industry over the past decade.
As much as it pains me, I have to give Xena: Warrior Princess #1 2 out of 5 stars. Genevieve tried hard to refresh the reader’s memory on the new status quo of this universe, but what came out was jumbled exposition. And the art, though well done, did not break the mold enough for me to be able to suggest the purchase. Though I wouldn’t knock the book off just yet. Let’s give it a few issues and see if things improve.