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Review: Xena #1

Xena2016-01-A-LandWith the resurgence of Xena: Warrior Princess in comic book form as well as an upcoming tv series reboot, the nagging question for me has been whether or not Xena will prove to be an iconic character that can succeed in various incarnations, or if those incarnations will all pale in comparison to Lucy Lawless’ bodacious depiction of the Amazon badass I hold so dear. (It’s admittedly a highly subjective assessment, given my long-held crush on Lucy Lawless). I have never read earlier versions of the comic book – in fact, I basically avoid comic spin-offs in general – so I’ve been biased against consuming Xena in any Lawless-free form for some time. Still, I tried to go into the re-launch’s first issue with enthusiasm and an open mind. Unfortunately, I still didn’t come away with much nice to say.

If you’re anything like me, your impression of the Xena comic will rest largely on what elements of the show you liked best. Folks who watched the show for the storytelling and world-building might come away with a more positive opinion than I did. A brief prologue establishes that Xena and Gabrielle awoke from a 25-year slumber to fight Olympus, and are now living in a time where their allies amongst the surviving gods are few and powerless. As Xena and Gabrielle escort two young girls on a journey to find their mother, they must determine why Harpies have been attacking Illyrian villages.

When I imagine the storyline being played out on the show or read the dialogue in the voices of Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor, it rings true to what I’d expect from the original series. However, my personal adoration of Xena hinged largely on the camp value; Lawless’ inhuman ability to be both goofy and hot at all times, the Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi appearances, the budget special effects paired with kickass fight choreography. The fun that was had by the cast and crew while making that show trickled down to this particular viewer and while I’m sure some of the comedy will be more evident in later issues, it was minimal in the premiere.

That being said, most of my criticisms of this issue are aesthetic. The lettering and linework are too blocky for my eye, and there’s not a single character whose face I can consistently bear to look at, including Xena’s. The overall look suffers from a lack of detail and consistency, with too many supporting characters having ape-like faces or minimal features, and the coloring is more utilitarian than creative. I had tempered my expectations with regards to the story, but was deeply hoping the comic would give me something far more exciting to look at than what was delivered.

Story: Genevieve Valentine Art: Ariel Medel
Story: 6 Art: 3 Overall: 4.5 Recommendation: Read

Dynamite provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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