Amala’s Blade #1 (of 4)
Created by Steve Horton & Michael Dialynas
Script & Lettering by Steve Horton
Art & Colors by Michael Dialynas
Review by Joey Braccino
We open in a half-rustic, half-steampunk, half-grungy country pub. Grimy fellows with dirty faces, red noses, and barrel chests smoke and drink in shadows while a young woman with straight bangs and a ghost monkey chats up a skeevy drunkard. Little does our hapless, hiccupping gloater know that she’s there to assassinate and he is her target. The scene escalates into blood and brawling, and this new Amala’s Blade mini-series kicks into high gear with this debut issue.
Steve Horton and Michael Dialynas’ haunted assassin starred in a series of shorts in Dark Horse Presents and a #0 issue over the last year or so, and many readers (including a large group of comics creators who contributed words of praise to the letters column for this issue) were ecstatic when this Amala’s Blade mini-series was announced. Issue #1 dropped today and I’m happy to say that the cavalier action, political intrigue, and gorgeous artwork continue to fuse together in one fun comics read.
While the script does an excellent job of catching up new readers to the parameters of Amala’s world (though I’m still unclear as to what exactly a Purifier and/or Modifier is), it’s Michael Dialynas’ artwork that really drew me into this new comic. Although there is a historical/literary feel to the artwork, similar to comics like Kill Shakespeare and Sons of Liberty, Dialynas deftly weaves in high-fantasy elements into the design, adding to the scope of the book. A sparring scene between Amala and her love-interest (how nice is it to write it that way, huh?), Ren, in a barn is illustrated playfully and escalates brilliantly. Dialynas stages Horton’s emotional sequence with nuance and subtlety, producing a nice high-point to the debut issue.
Check it out! I haven’t read any Amala’s Blade before this mini-series, but I do plan on picking up the next issue after this very strong debut issue. While there are some confusing components of Amala’s world that are not fleshed out in this introductory issue, the overall feel and fun of the book certainly covers up any faults. Amala seems like a strong, female protagonist with a complex set of motivations and objectives, and I’m excited to see how it develops in this world of high-fantasy and sword-play!!!