In Review: Xena Warrior Princess #6

Xena battles all of Rome to save her bard.

Synopsis: Xena the warrior princess and Gabrielle have been separated. Now Augustus Caesar’s captive, Gabrielle must make a difficult choice. Does she submit to Caesar’s request and become the Bard of Rome? Or does she rely on Xena to formulate a plan to reunite the pair? Meanwhile, Xena and her companions are forced to fight one another in the dreaded coliseum.

Review: As a fan of the television series Xena, it is good to see these beloved characters on new adventures thanks to Dynamite.  The characters seem spot on with their TV counterparts. Gabrielle has been plagued with visions of Xena’s death, and she has left her companion to prevent this from happening. However, things go awry when Augustus Caesar wants Gabrielle to become the bard of Rome. His plan is to use Gabrielle’s skills as a storyteller to be his propaganda piece for his campaign to expand the roman empire. This offer is a veiled demand, and although Gabrielle is treated well, she is ostensibly a prisoner in Caesar’s court. Seeing Gabrielle, who often is relegated to the role of sidekick, as a character that Augustus himself values is great. It highlights the importance of the character.

Xena appears in an attempt to rescue her beloved companion, but she must survive a death match in the coliseum. The warrior princess and a band of female warriors are attempting to free Gabrielle from the emperor’s grasp, yet the women must fight amongst themselves. The battle begins, and the warriors fight until they can turn the tide. Even though they do manage a small victory, it only brings Xena and her gang to another stalemate. This is where the story gets a bit difficult to follow.

How is this supposed to free Gabrielle? Is there a plan to escape once Gabrielle is secured? These are some of the questions that begin to form during this issue. The goal is clear: save the girl. Yet the path to this goal doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Add to this the surprise appearance of the ex god of war, Ares, and the confusion grows. Genevieve Valentine has a firm hand at bringing the voices of Xena and Gabrielle to life, but this issue gets bogged down by all of the moving parts to free our imperiled bard.

The art for Xena #6 comes off as uneven at times. The pastiche of Gabrielle in the beginning of the issue seamlessly capture her plight. Right away we get what is going on, and everyone is brought up to speed. The problem becomes that the art is just as hard to follow as the plot in places. The arena match where Xena does battle is disjointed in some panels. On the other hand, there are panels in that same fight sequence where the warrior princess looks powerful and at her best.  Part of the problem may be the coloring. Caesar’s imperial garments, for example, seem out of place and a bit washed out and thus distracting.

Xena Warrior Princess #6 has a lot of good things going for it. The writing of our two main characters is so strong that you can hear the actresses reading the lines in your mind. The art, in places, conveys the sense of majesty and might that fans remember about the television series even after all these years. Yes, there are issues with the plot and art in certain places, but the good still outweighs the bad of this installment.

Xena Warrior Princess #6
  • Cover
  • Story
  • Artwork
  • Lettering
  • Colors
3 Comments on this post.
  • Mike
    23 September 2016 at 2:54 pm -

    I actually really enjoy Julius Gopez’s art. When his art jarringly appeared half way through issue 4 (I believe) it felt weird at first but I prefer it much to the former artist. I can see how it wouldn’t be someone’s taste but I like the gritty line work, it almost reminds me of Prince Valiant art which I’m a huge fan of.

    As for the story, I might be able to clear a few things up, I just read it on my commute this morning. Xena was captured in her attempt to rescue Gabrielle. Xena was being used as leverage by Ceaser to get Gabrielle to stop the fight and agree to his terms to become the Bard of Rome. It backfired as Gabrielle refused to play his game and ordered the fight to continue. Xena was scheming with the other captive Harpies as they ‘mock’ battled. The plan was to take out the archers and make a go for Gabrielle but the tables turned when Ares (who traveled to Rome with Gabrielle) appeared dressed in a Roman uniform to rescue Gabrielle. To further tip the scales in Xena and Gabrielle’s favor the remaining Harpies showed up to assist. It was then that Gabrielle did just what Ceaser wanted from her (just not how he wanted it!) by highlighting the senselessness of war and letting the Romans know that Ceaser wanted to demonstrate this to this them, praising his wisdom. This gave Ceaser a chance to declare peace and gain the approval of his people as he always wanted. Now however, some of the Harpies are remaining with Ceaser acting as advisors to make sure he doesn’t over-extend his reach as he has in the past.

    I thought it was really strong story telling, characterization, art, and (as you said) great dialog! Thanks for the write up, enjoyed your take.

    • Ian Cullen
      23 September 2016 at 3:01 pm -

      Cheers I’ll let oral know you liked his write up.

    • Oral Frier
      2 October 2016 at 11:55 pm -

      You are absolutely right about the pencils. It is reminiscent of Prince Valiant, and it does work very well at times. Thanks for your comment. It is very appreciated


      You have the distinction of being my first comment! Huzzah!

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