Review - Xena Warrior Princess #1 (@DynamiteComics)

"--Sigh--They never listen."

The adventures of Xena and Gabrielle have been chronicled in plenty of formats. More often than not though, the duo end up squaring off against some form of angry god where human lives are at stake. Xena Warrior Princess #1 from Dynamite Comics is no exception. The issue is written by Vita Ayala, illustrated by Olympia Sweetman, colored by Rebecca Nalty and lettered by Ariana Maher.

In a time of ancient gods, warlords and kings...a land in turmoil called out for a hero! She was XENA, a mighty princess forged in the heat of battle! Can Xena discover the secrets of a village full of super-strong children, before jealous and petty GODS get involved?

Ayala's take on the Warrior Princess is as strong and intense as you would expect for the character. She writes Xena as extremely capable and combat-ready, dictated by an equally strong moral compass that influences her decision-making. The central plot of the narrative focuses on another small village being terrorized by a god and Ayala works that into the script very naturally. And while most of the issue is spent with the villagers bickering over how best to handle their plight, Ayala still manages to give Xena and Gabrielle enough space to establish themselves as saviors of sorts. Working in the god Discord is done without being forced, providing Ayla a great way to keep Xena connected to that world without it being overbearing.

Sweetman's artistic approach brings a lighter sensibility to the otherwise dramatic tale. The linework is very delicate throughout the issue as Sweetman renders the characters with little delineation between them and the backgrounds. It's a very simple art style that emphasizes the characters above all, eschewing much in the way of detailed backgrounds. The empty gutters add even more emphasis on the characters above all, although there are a few pages where the panels are overlaid. Nalty's colors are bright and vivid in sharp contrast to what is otherwise an angry god wreaking havoc on humans.

Not much has changed in Xena's world in Xena Warrior Princess #1 for the characters, other than the new situations they find themselves in. Xena and Gabrielle find their services to be needed by a small village contending with an angry god and how they react dictates the direction of the series. Ayala's script is straightforward and consistent in its presentation. Sweetman's illustrations are pretty soft and understated, showcasing the characters in a way that makes them easily recognizable. Xena Warrior Princess #1 is another entry in a familiar franchise that doesn't seek to reinvent the wheel.

Xena Warrior Princess #1 is available now.