Dynamite Entertainment's big summer event is Swords of Sorrow. It's a six-part miniseries written by Gail Simone and drawn by Sergio Davila and focuses on the publisher's female characters. The series will also have three spinoff miniseries and five one-shot specials as it runs from May until October. Simone is the architect behind the event and handpicked a crew of all female writers to make this happen.
I've gotten a copy of the first issue to do an advanced review and I dived in right away.
The first issue starts off with a bit of an 'on-the-nose' poke at the industry as two little kids are playing in the jungle. The little girl is telling the story of what's going on with their toys when the little boy says "A girl can't tell the tribe what to do." He then boasts that no girl commands him… only to be rescue by Jungle Girl a few seconds later.
We then check in with what's going on with Red Sonja, Vampirella, Dejah Thoris, Kato and Jennifer Blood before we are finally introduced to The Traveller and the Courier. They speak of The Prince and how his power is growing. The Traveller refers to the women she is selecting as her generals and commands the Courier to take them their swords. The Prince is raising his own army.
The Courier then goes through and delivers swords to each of the women, acting as if he knows them all but none are familiar with him. He also visits Irene Adler, Jane Porter and Lady Zorro. While the Prince shows of his seconds: Purgatori, Bad Kitty, Chastity, Lady Demon…
This is a set up story. It's putting all the pieces into place for the event and since there are a lot of pieces it takes up the full issue. This is more of a prelude than a story but that is what you'd expect going into an event like this. They're taking women from various eras and even planets and mixing them together while introducing the good guys and the bad guys. In a way it feels like the old Marvel's Contest of Champions with two powerful sides choosing warriors to fight for them. It has set the table and has left me wanting to read more.
The real strength of this issue is the artwork of Sergio Davila who has really stepped up his game here. In a book where the characters are wearing very little… Vampirella, Red Sonja, Dejah Thoris and Jungle Girl for example… Davila is able to draw them as powerful, beautiful women with it never feeling like a T&A book as it could have easily been.
It will be interesting from here to see how the series progresses and how some characters new to the spotlight like Irene Adler and Jane Porter will do in lead roles. Simone has crafted a good start to the event and I am eager for the next issue.
Covers here are by J. Scott Campbell and Jenny Frison