Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review - Amala's Blade #0

Robot pirate monkeys have a way upping the awesome quotient in just about anything they appear in, which, sadly, isn't much. That's ok though, because a book like Amala's Blade #0 doesn't rely entirely on such a monkey to provide an interesting story.

The work features the writing and lettering of Steve Horton and art by Michael Dialynas.

A behemoth pirate ship is captained by a pirate with a fat price on his head. And out for that head is Amala, Naamaron's greatest swordfighter (according to Amala). Naturally, the odds are against her. It doesn't help matters that Amala has a running crew of ghosts questioning every single one of her decisions. Oh and she's got a bit of a cocky streak in her as well, which makes things way more interesting for her than they probably should be.

The bulk of the issue is Amala sneaking around the Behemoth, a pirate ship. She's there on the order of the Vizier, but other than that, Horton doesn't really reveal too much about Amala's backstory. What he does reveal is that she's a very proficient swordsman with a knack for winning battles. Her target (Captain Cha'Kooh) is pitched as something of an angry fellow and why she's after him will likely be explained down the road.

The "twist" in the issue is that Amala is constantly badgered by ghosts. Badgered might be too strong a word, but the ghosts serve to act maybe as different facets of her self-conscious. These different ghosts offer different critiques of her current mission, all questioning her from different angles. Amala herself is quite feisty and the ghosts seem to want to rein her in at least a little bit if they can.

Dialynas' art is intense. It's similar to Riley Rossmo's work in Debris; full of scratchiness and motion in the panels. The color tone is largely on the darker side, effectively depicting a pirate ship on a moonlit ocean. Characters are showcased in poses that effectively reveal their fighting styles and Dialynas handles the action scenes easily. The pirates are something that appears to be part robotic and Dialynas manages to not let that aspect of them overwhelm the art.

Amala's Blade #0 kicks off an interesting property. The concept of a character like Amala being a trained assassin isn't exactly original, but there are many questions left unanswered at the end of the zero issue. The Vizier remains mysterious, there's a fabled war between the Modifiers and the Purifiers that bears exploring and Amala's contact with the ghosts is haunting. Horton and Dialynas have created something pretty cool though and is worth checking out.

Amala's Blade #0 is available now with interiors below.




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