Review - Crone #1 (@DarkHorseComics)

"But behold! Battle has once more returned to this place."

Regardless of one's status in life, age is an inevitability that must be factored in. For a former warrior such as Bloody Bliss in Crone #1 from Dark Horse Comics, age has been factored in and ignored. The issue is written by Dennis Culver, illustrated by Justin Greenwood, colored by Brad Simpson and lettered by Pat Brosseau.

The Sword Saviour and Champion of Men once known as BLOODY BLISS is now nothing more than a reclusive old CRONE. Does she have the strength to answer the call for one last adventure?

Crone #1 inevitably draws comparisons to Red Sonja (and rightfully so), although Culver is taking a slightly different approach in the comparison in that the book looks at a retired Red Sonja. The concept of a hero in retirement isn't really handled that frequently and there are aspects to the slower lifestyle that make for interesting character choices. Culver relies heavily on the concept of mortality as the driving force behind Bloody Bliss setting aside the sword for a seemingly peaceful retirement on an isolated mountain. The issue does a great job of conveying this lifestyle to the reader after showing them what earned Bloody Bliss the nicknames Sword Saviour and Champion of Men, all while tying things together quite neatly by the end of the first issue. Much of Culver's dialogue is fairly typical for a high-fantasy book, but Bloody Bliss in particular is written with a salty tongue that's befitting of her fierce personality.

There's very much a metal style to Greenwood's illustrations, evidenced best by his rendering of the D'Kayde who's rife with studs, spike and skulls. Greenwood does very fun things with perspective, emphasizing the monstrous size of D'Kayde when compared to this around him--especially to that of Bloody Bliss who's really a young spirit in an old woman's body. Despite the depiction of her as older, Greenwood still manages to infuse Bloody Bliss with a sense of vim and vigour to reinforce to the reader the force she is. The panels are stacked atop one another quite frequently and give the book some sense of tempo amidst the seemingly calm storytelling vibe. Simpson's colors paint the book in a seemingly eternal sunset bloodied by war, providing ample context for the savageness of the characters involved.

Crone @1 is a mislead title in that it greatly belies the ferocity of the main character--likely by design. Bloody Bliss is a warrior with an eye towards solitude, although forces beyond her control are forcing her out of retirement to confront ghosts from her past. Culver's script is moderately-paced and efficient at telling its story. Greenwood's illustrations provide ample amount of intensity befitting of a storied rivalry between two capable adversaries. Crone #1 is a fun take on the notion that everyone gets old at some point and how one spends their retirement.

Crone #1 is available November 6.