Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Review - SwordPlay

"Mmm that is good bagelwich. It's the victory that makes it extra delicious. Also the bacon."

Starting the day off with a good breakfast is a good way to start the day. Starting with a good breakfast for free? That makes the day even better. Getting that free breakfast through a swordfight? Well, now you're talking about SwordPlay.

The one-shot is written by Jeff Prezenkowski, illustrated by Saint and lettered by Lauren Morby.

Ryan thinks of himself as a winner at life. He's got a snazzy wardrobe, great loft apartment downtown and can get just about anything he wants. Only, he doesn't do it with a lot of money. Instead, he challenges everyone he encounters to a swordfight, which isn't that strange in his world considering everyone settles just about everything the same way. Ryan meets his match in Sandy though, an attractive woman he works with who proves that there are others out there more than capable of holding their own when it comes to dueling.

Prezenkowski's world is actually pretty funny. He pictures a place where every single dispute is solved by swordfighting, with the best combatant forcing their opponent to yield and getting their way. It's a pretty a solid dispute resolution tactic that doesn't end in bloodshed; only a lot of hurt pride. Prezenkowski spins it in a way that makes a winning streak equivalent to having a lot of money, proving that by showing Ryan as something of an arrogant dueler.

Saint's art is all black and white. There are some extremely crowded panels (such as on a subway train) where there are a lot of people dueling that are a little difficult to fully grasp what's happening. It's a slight problem with entire issue, primarily because the art is black and white. Saint's ability is good enough on its own, but there's no contrasting colors to help make certain people stand out from one another.

Living in a world where everything is settled by sword duels is pretty clever. It throws things back to a different time, when people were a lot less civilized and managed to feel as if power was always the answer. SwordPlay adds a sense of sophistication to the concept, leveraging it as a means of conveying a new society. Ryan learns a valuable lesson about the downside of pride and manages to grow from it, proving that even strong duelists need a little reality check from time to time.

SwordPlay is available on comiXology now.


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