For the past three years, the fantasy genre has been flooding the pop culture market. With Game of Thrones making the wonderful world of fantasy interesting to non-geeks everywhere, people are starting to respect something that was only for bookworms. Sure, Lord of the Rings opened the floodgates and introduced the bombastic aspects of the genre to a giant audience, but we’re finally getting quality fantasy to make sense to everyone even when there aren’t giant battles.
Case in point: Dark Horse Comics’ new miniseries Amala’s Blade, which is more focused on culture and world building than giant battles. That isn’t to say there aren’t action scenes though, but with all this in mind issue #2 hit the stands today. Is it good?
Amala’s Blade #2 (Dark Horse Comics)
If you missed our review of Amala’s Blade #1 click here.
If you’re just joining us, Amala is a paid for assassin who lives in a fantasy world split in two. On one side are the Purifiers (steampunk-ish culture) and on the other are the Modifiers (cyborg types). In my review of the first issue I made the point that this complex world weaved by Steve Horton was the strongest aspect of the series. Part of the joy in reading this series is the incredibly vivid world Horton has built. So far we haven’t had enough time with Amala to really get to know her, but that’s okay, because the concepts that this series ride on are so imaginative and interesting.
This issue reveals more of Amala’s backstory as well as her deal with seeing ghosts. We get to see her at work slicing and dicing, but also some interesting fantasy elements are introduced you haven’t seen before. Having read a lot of fantasy novels and played fantasy video games, there are some genuine aspects to this world I’ve never seen before. Artist Michael Dialynas also gets the chance to draw the city of each side which helps visually set apart the warring factions.
What really sells me with this series is how it cuts between characters and introduces new ones. It’s clear Amala is the lead and she takes up most of the book, but the comic transitions to other characters in very organic ways, much like a good TV show. It leaves you wanting more from a scene and cuts away at just the right moment to another scene that has the perfect sense of tone to steer your gears in another direction.
The issue also doesn’t waste time with heavy exposition, but spreads it out and only tells you what you need to know. Some books don’t give you enough and end up being frustrating, while others dump it all on you and kill the flow of the story. Not so here, as everything is paced nicely.
- Incredibly well paced
- Enjoyable characters
- Exceptional art
- This needs to be a videogame or TV show NOW
And I haven’t even talked about the art yet! Dialynas’ style is unique and interesting, detailed but also cartoony and I love it. Here is a good example where an artist’s ability to also do color shows. An artist’s work can sometimes be overshadowed or improved due to the right inker or colorist being attached. Dialynas does it all though and it shows. Everything fits and looks exceptional.
Is It Good?
Yes. We’re two issues in, but I’m already confident enough in this series to call it the best fantasy comic on the shelves. Get this now!