As a big fan of fantasy, it’s only natural that I’d pick up Sword of Sorcery, DC’s newest anthology title from the New 52′s Third Wave. The main story features Amethyst, a classic DC character with an extensive fan following, while the backup tale focuses on a post-apocalyptic DCU that’s become akin to the world of the Old English story of Beowulf. How did this title hold up to the scrutiny of a big sword and sorcery genre fan?
Amy Winston is the heroine of the main story in Sword of Sorcery #0. Amy has long been the outcast at school, her mother constantly moving their family from town to town for her whole life. Amy demands answers about her family’s past, possessing only a crystal necklace as a remnant of a father she never knew. Ultimately, on her 17th birthday, Amy’s mother transports them to her homeland of Nillaa, also known as Gemworld, a planet of magic. Amy’s mother and aunt are twin heirs to House Amethyst, but alas her aunt wants to claim the throne, and its power, for herself. Just as Amy begins to get some answers, she’s immediately flung into battle! What is the future of this girl who is, in reality, Princess Amaya?
Christy Marx, famed writer for children’s TV shows including the original G.I. Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles, and Jem, wrote this comic. I have to commend Marx’s mastery of dialogue: whenever the characters speak it flows very naturally, akin to normal conversation. Furthermore, I think the pacing of this issue is pretty good: we’re introduced to Amy right on page 1, and we quickly learn about her home life and personality before delving into the mystical side of the tale. That said, the plot in this issue was nothing special. Nothing too exciting happened, and there weren’t any moments that stick out in my mind after reading. Given the nature of this issue as an introduction I can understand this complaint, though I hope things will pick up with issue #1 next month.
The art, by Aaron Lopresti, is quite good. The character designs are fairly complex and well done, and the action scenes, though few, are executed well. My main complaint is that Amy, her mother, and her aunt all look far too similar in their “true forms,” which ultimately could lead to confusion for some readers (this probably could’ve been remedied by differentiating their clothing a bit more). The designs for the buildings in Gemworld are very interesting too, and I’m looking forward to seeing more as the stories continue. Color is clearly important in a title like this, and HI-FI does a spectacular job. The way he layers tones on the characters’ hair impressed me the most. The art fits this story perfectly and is admirable.
The backup story, featuring Beowulf, involves a lad named Wiglaf who is seeking a warrior to fight off the monster Grendel, a creature terrorizing Hrothgar’s Hall. I know what this sounds like, but leave your presumptions at the door: this tale differs from the ancient story. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland and, rumor has it, we’ll see evidence of a fallen DC Universe in the story (though I didn’t see any indication in this chapter aside from the tech imprisoning Beowulf). Writer Tony Bedard does a great deal in just a few pages; I like how Wiglaf’s character uses his brain to survive rather than just rushing blindly forward. The art, by Jesus Saiz, is also quite good, especially the 3rd and 2nd to last pages, a beautiful spread of intermingled panels. Given its short nature, its hard to comment much more on the backup story, but honestly I wish this was the main tale given just how much more awesome it seems than Amethyst, at least so far.
Sword of Sorcery #0 is a decent starting point for a fantasy comic of this type. I do like that DC is trying to headline a new heroine, and I think the Amethyst portion of the story has lots of potential, but isn’t wowing me just yet. Beowulf’s story, however, is pretty cool and if nothing else that’ll keep me coming back to this title. I think this title is worth buying, if only to give fantasy comics a little more love.
Brett Simon is a twenty-two year old comic enthusiast. His first impression of Beowulf was “Whoah! It’s Old Man Logan!“