Monday, April 22, 2013

Review - Amala's Blade #1

There's something about a skilled assassin. Someone who can get the job done, job after job. Sometimes though, that assassin gets a little cocky, drawing unwanted attention to themselves and their primary employers. It's times like those where things get rough for the assassin, as in Amala's Blade #1 from Dark Horse Comics.

The issue is written and lettered by Steve Horton, with art and colors by Michael Dialynas.

The kingdom of Naamaron is bitterly divided into warring factions: the low-tech Purifiers and the high-tech Modifiers. Both fear the great vizier's deadliest assassin, Amala. But for all her lethal skills, Amala’s drawing too much attention for the vizier’s taste. So what better way to deal with a troublesome cutthroat than to send her on a suicide mission?

As a character, Amala is quite rambunctious. Horton has made sure that she's well-known for talents of assassination, but that she's also quite brash about it, realizing it as well. That bravado naturally makes some higher-ups a little uneasy, especially the Vizier, her main employer. That brewing conflict sets the stage for the series, sending Amala on an almost impossible mission. It'll be interesting to see what kind of revelations Amala will have along the way.

Dialynas' art is strong and feels timely. It's got a sense of a samurai look to it, working well with the image being conveyed by Amala as a character. There are a few panels rife with violence and Dialynas handles those panels very well. Even the ghosts Amala frequently converses with are depicted somewhat eerily, ensuring the reader feels just as haunted by them as Amala presumably does.

The first issue of the new series positions it for a strong run. Amala is an interesting character who will likely make some harsh realizations about her role and life, realizations that could end poorly for anyone involved. The Vizier is vile enough to serve as a main villain and the backdrop of the Purifiers against the Modifiers could be an interesting setting for Amala to work against.

Amala's Blade #1 is in stores April 24 with interiors below.


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