In Review: Sword of Sorcery #4

The cover: I couldn’t see it in the foreground monster but the shield and floating Constantine said Walter Simonson, and it is, with colors by Lovern Kindzierski. Amethyst’s hair reminds me or art by Alex Nino. It’s a nice layout with our heroine going for the monsters, the bigger threat could be behind her. Overall grade: A-

The story: “Hostile Takeover” by Christy Marx details Amaya’s attempt to get back to Nilaa after she was summoned to Earth by Constantine in Justice League Dark Annual #1. John sends her to Chicago to get something she’s really missed while off world. Once she’s been satisfied she’s captured by a self-made sorceress. The remainder of the story is Amaya’s escape. We’re only five issues in (Don’t forget the Zero Issue!) and our protagonist has become very confident in her skills and herself. This is quite the change-up from what we’ve been seeing. True, she’s spent time beside the JLD, so she should be more confident. The story’s not bad, but I have a feeling this was thrust on writer Marx to get her off of our world and back to Nilaa to continue the story she signed on to write. Again, not bad, but I want Gemwo–er, Nilaa, not Earth as the setting. The second story is the return of Stalker, a character created by Paul Levitz and Steve Ditko in 1975. This 10 page story gives the origin of the man who makes an unholy bargain to “stalk” the Earth until the price of this debt is revealed. This is your typical barbarian king story who’s cursed. The fianl four pages do take an unexpectedly timely turn which I thought intriguing, though the final panel played straight out of a SyFy Channel original film. Decent job by Marc Andreyko, but can Claw the Unconquered be too far behind? Overall grades: Amethyst B and Stalker C+

The art: Travis Moore provides pencils and Karl Story inks to the Amethyst tale and they do a decent job. Amaya looks good but Constantine is too rugged, but that’s his look in the New 52. Their monsters are good and the antagonist looks okay. They really shine when magic is being used–it’s portal-mania in this book! I really liked the last shot of Amaya the most: she truly looks her age. Stalker features art by Andrei Bressan. The first six pages look better than the last four, and I think that’s because he spent more time on them: that setting required complete reader buy-in, so he had to spend the majority of his time there. The reveal of the last page had me looking at my Marilyn Manson CDs for confirmation on the image, and I got it. Overall grades: Amethyst B and Stalker B-

The colors: The first story has a good job done by Hi-Fi, who excel at shading the faces of the human characters, and the second story is equally well done by Chris Sotomayer, who goes for mood lighting often (if something evil is going down, reds and oranges dominate every panel). Overall grades: Both B

The letters: Lots of dialogue, a slam, and two screams by Rob Leigh on Amethyst, and a few sound effects and lots of dialogue that’s too thin by Travis Lanham on Stalker. Ditto on the antagonist’s font: hard to read and too thin. Overall grades: Amethyst B and Stalker C-

The final line: Issue 4 and our regular Amethyst story has been interrupted, while Beowulf has disappeared and Stalker has begun. This is the best example of a typical comic book–not great, not bad. Just okay. Overall grades: Amethyst B and Stalker C+

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