Xena Warrior Princess #2
From MAJK’s Coffee Corner:
Xena Warrior Princess #2 finds our ladies trapped in an unusual deal with the Goddess Dischord. The story: to save the children of the village, Xena offered her services to Dischord who was all too happy to accept. Unfortunately, Dischord’s not one to make the terms of any deal easy or fair. She demands Xena take on an army of Roman soldiers but added a condition intended to hamper our warrior princess.
Xena Warrior Princess #2 is out in stores today, and I highly recommend it. Writer Vita Ayala with artists Olympia Sweetman and Vasil Georgiev bring both Xena and her beloved Gabrielle to life with all the action, wit, and cleverness that made the show a cultural phenomenon.
Spoiler Warning: If you have not read Xena Warrior Princess #2 There May Be Spoilers Below
Publisher: Dynamite Writer: Vita Ayala Artist: Olympia Sweetman, & Vasil Georgiev
Colors: Rebecca Nalty Letters: Ariana Maher Cover A: David Mack
Cover B: Emanuela Lupacchino & Triona Farrell Cover C: Paulina Ganucheau
Recommendation and Rating: 9/10
This comic is on my pull list and likely to stay there for a while as long as the art and story maintain the current quality or better. Xena Warrior Princess #2 is the second offering in the 2019 Xena: Warrior Princess series. So far the comic brings every bit of what made the TV show such a hit and adds some original touches as well.
Xena Warrior Princess #2 Cover
Xena Warrior Princess #2 comes with several beautiful covers. David Mack follows his Xena Warrior Princess #1 Cover with a #2 cover in the same ethereal pastel on white style and it’s every bit as beautiful. As with Xena Warrior Princess #1, I had to have more than one copy because I love Mack’s covers but, this issue, my favorite cover was cover C by Paulina Ganucheau.
I’m generally not a fan of pinks and purples, (having them forced on me as a child) but I love what Ganucheau has done here. The colors are blended expertly and the gradient effect feeds the feel of Dischord trapping a defiant Xena in her power. The expressions of both woman perfectly characterize their personalities in this story. Dischord grins playfully confident that the world will bend to her every whim. Xena rages defiant and determined, angry at the idea of being subjected to a goddesses’ petty desires. Ganucheau managed to encapsulate the interior story in her cover art.
The Story So Far:
Xena Warrior Princess #1 left Gabrielle in shock as Xena offered herself in place of the innocent children when the goddess of Dischord comes to collect on a deal made two generations ago.
Choose Your Words Wisely
Xena’s self-sacrificing offer comes in her last ditch effort to save the innocent children of a village. The goddess Dischord is so pleased with this offer that she abandons whatever deal she had previously made with Strife. Strife vanishes in a fit of rage which, considering he is a god, guarantees trouble in store for Xena.
Dischord agrees to Xena’s deal. The goddess decides that she could use someone to stop an army of pesky Roman soldiers who are traveling, attacking her followers, and destroying her temples. Xena agrees to stand against this legion of Roman soldiers but Dischord imposes restrictions on Xena. Xena must lead an army to face the Romans and then Dischord designates all the adults from the village as Xena’s Army. How can Xena defeat an army of Roman soldiers while overseeing a gaggle of farmers and geriatric elders?
Cleverness and loopholes, of course. Xena and Gabrielle execute a plan that exploits the very words of the goddess Discord while honoring their bargain.
Unfortunately, rather than solving the problem, our ladies find themselves smack in the middle of a squabble between gods. When the father of the gods, Zeus appears and passes judgment, things get very messy.
Art & Writing of Xena Warrior Princess #2
Writer Vita Ayala crafts a clever tale that shows there is far more to the Warrior Princess than courage and muscle. The clever solution to the task Dischord sets before our ladies reminds me of why I loved Xena so much in the first place. Crafty and honorable, Xena wins the day in a way that would make many a modern lawyer proud. Whether the idea was Xena’s alone or a suggestion from Gabrielle is never stated. The smug look on Gabrielle’s face does indicate that she at least knew about it.
Ayala does a great job demonstrating the compassion and gentleness that made the feisty Gabrielle so adored. The blonde bard takes time to comfort and listen to the poor Sideros magistrate who bears the burden of having made the blood pact with Dischord.
Ayala doesn’t shy away from the explicit relationship between Gabrielle and Xena. Gabby is ever the supportive and intuitive partner, encouraging Xena and drawing the worries she holds inside, out into the open. Ayala displays healthy equality in their conversation and humor. Also, the kiss for good luck was all the cuteness.
The artistry of Olympia Sweetman and Vasil Georgiev render character designs that are at once original and true to the source. Dischord is crafted exactingly with everything from her hair, and outfit matching her television counterpart.
Xena appears a bit visually softer in the eyes but remains every bit the muscular yet feminine form that defined expectations of female warriors for many years following. The detail work on her iconic apparel is exquisite. Gabrielle is designed with the long hairstyle of the early years which I preferred on her so naturally, this makes me happy. Gabby’s stance and movements fall so inline with her TV persona that you almost see Renee O’Connor.
Colorist Rebecca Nalty shapes the atmosphere subtly while at the same time enhancing the character emotions. The peach and blues of the fading day play well against the earthy colors of the Roman encampment. The gradient blues of the nightfall and the greys of the rainy weather work to build the moos without demanding our attention. The pastel palette of the sky during the battle keeps the attention on the vividly colored characters. The use of screaming reds and orange at key points in battle heighten the tension dramatically.
Woven throughout all of this Ariana Maher’s lettering multi-tasks allowing us to watch the action in one panel while hearing the narrative of an off-panel conversation without becoming confusing or obstructing the visuals.
MAJK’s Age Recommendation:
Xena Warrior Princess #2 is easy to recommend at a 12+ age level. It’s all the fun and action of the original Xena and Hercules TV shows with minimal death, blood, etc. The only people I would advise against reading this are those who have serious issues with strong women or explicit lesbian relationships.
Given Zeus’ rather nasty punishment and Strife’s utter panic, I see a much larger quarrel with the gods coming to light in the future. Dischord isn’t one to take this lying down so be ready for some chaos in upcoming issues.
Next Issue: June 2019