Xena #1 – Review

Dynamite is making a habit of chronicling the adventures of some iconic female characters. This week sees the release of their latest addition to a roster of heroines, Xena, the Warrior Princess. For the publisher of Red Sonja, It seems like a natural fit.

Xena2016-01-B-Frison Xena2016-01-A-LandXena #1

writer: Genevieve Valentine
artist: Ariel Medel
covers: Greg Land (a 50%), Jenny Frison (b 50%)
incentive cover: Greg Land (B/W art), Jenny Frison (“virgin art”)
Fans & retailers, 2 covers ship in equal (50/50) ratios!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+

After the Twilight of the Gods, the world is precariously uncertain – and Xena and Gabrielle have been missing from it for twenty-five years. Even without Livia, the power of Rome is growing: Caesar is determined to conquer by lies what he can’t conquer by force, and the people at its edges know what’s coming. (All roads lead to Rome, and Rome is hunting.) Xena and Gabrielle scramble to stop him before they have to wage war against a man they once called a friend. But along the way, Xena will have to confront her past against a rogue band of women warriors, and Gabrielle, whose secret visions are becoming prophecy, will have to protect Xena – at any cost.

Preview Pages:

Xena2016-001-Int 1 Xena2016-001-Int 2 Xena2016-001-Int 3 Xena2016-001-Int 4 Xena2016-001-Int 5

Review:

I was immediately turned off by the Greg Land cover, which ignores rules of perspective in an effort to create an attractive design. However, once going in, I’m greeted by Ariel Medel’s artwork, which retains a little too much 90s influence for most books, but works completely well for this title and these characters. It adds to the nostalgic feeling these characters bring to any reader that remembers watching Xena on television. The rendition of Xena fits the character, although Ariel’s Gabrielle is a little generic. There’s a fantastic handling of storytelling and can convey story elements without needing it spelled out. The craftsmanship is wanting in some places, although not by much.

The story by Genevieve Valentine is a nice continuation of the story of this character. This is nice, given that it would have been far too easy to just write adventures that fall into the time period of Xena’s television series. The story seems very linear, but has nice elements of a larger story going on underneath. It’s a very classic style of storytelling to start by telling a simple story, but weaving a subplot around the adventure that catches up to our heroines. It’s a good story, but sadly, not a great one that makes me want to come back next issue. However, a bigger fan of Xena might like it much better than I did.

If you have any fondness for Xena, give the series a shot and see if you want to continue her adventures. It’s worthy of that, in the very least, and some readers may find it a very enjoyable read.