Xena Warrior Princess #3
From MAJK’s Coffee Corner:
Xena Warrior Princess #3 amused me to no end. Dischord is a hot mess, as fans of the Xena TV series can tell you. She is both hot and a total mess. Xena and Gabrielle stumble into the game of gods that Dischord plays, and it’s not going well. Thanks to Dischord’s antics, Xena and Gabrielle find themselves far from home and saddled with a depowered and petulant former goddess. Desperate to get back, the group beseeches a local deity to assist them. Unfortunately, letting Dischord make deals with unfamiliar gods is not the best of life choices. Our ladies find themselves trapped in a quarrel between two gods. Déjà vu much? Something tells me that having a spoiled bratty ex-goddess as a tag-along is going to make getting home far more difficult than it needs to be
Spoiler Warning: If you have not read Xena Warrior Princess #3, there may be spoilers below.
Publisher: Dynamite Writer: Vita Ayala Art: Jordi Perez Colors: Rebecca Nalty
Letters: Ariana Maher Editor: Nate Cosby
Cover Artist: Cover A- David Mack; Cover B – Emanuela Lupacchino; Cover C – Paulina Ganucheau.
Xena Warrior Princess #3 Covers
Xena Warrior Princess #3 offers a range of covers from the same talented group of artists that worked on covers for the last issue. Each of the artists maintains a distinctive design for their Xena Warrior Princess covers. David Mack continues his ethereal pastel on white style. His work on this issue craft a striking likeness to Lucy Lawless in one of her most iconic Xena poses.
Lupacchino does a great job with sunlight hues draped over the jungle environment. He creates dramatic contrasts with the vivid blue frog, shadow panther, and the vibrant red of Xena’s cape. Casting them against the green and gold hues of the forest pulls in to focus the strangeness of an environment that is definitely NOT Greece.
Paulina Ganucheau again creates my favorite of the batch. While the bright green against earthy beiges, browns, and yellows plays nicely, it’s the expressions on the characters faces that cinched it. Dischord looks like she’s not sure what this thing in her lap could be. Gabrielle, rocking the signature Renee O’Connor cut, is side-eyeing the goddess or the animal, possibly both. Xena’s scrunched pout is beyond cute. This cover is a whole new level of adorable. It ranks up there with Xena and Gabby’s first kiss.
The Story So Far:
In Xena Warrior Princess #2, Dischord managed to trap Xena into a questionable deal. To save a generation of village children, Xena agreed to take on an army of Roman soldiers that were demolishing Dischords temples. The catch being Xena must take all the adults, including the elderly from the village as her army.
Xena defeated the army of Roman soldiers with the help of her “army” of simple farmers and geriatric elders using wit, cleverness, and loopholes. The advantage of having a bard on your side is they make their living with words. Thanks to Gabrielle, they executed a plan that exploited the very words that Discord spoke. Just as a frustrated Discord prepares to leave, a very angry Zeus appears. It seems that by assisting Dischord, our ladies fell smack in the middle of an argument between the gods. This results in them banished with Dischord to “to the ends of the earth.”
Welcome to the Ends of the Earth
If there’s a lesson to be learned from Xena Warrior Princess #3, then it is to choose your negotiator wisely. When our ladies awakened in the middle of a beautiful, mysterious jungle, they aren’t sure where they are or how far it is to get home. While we know they’ve landed in the Mirador Basin in Mexico, they only know they are in a strange land with strange people following them.
Dischord has no power as a god here, but it turns out she does still have the ability to speak many languages. Naturally, one of those languages is that of the tribe members stalking them. Here’s the thing about a goddess that delights in chaos and contention, you can never really trust her. It’s clear that Xena and Gabrielle don’t trust her, but their inability to understand the language leaves them no choice.
Dischord convinces the locals to lead them to their holy man in the temple of their god, Kisin. There Dischord makes a deal with Kisin, the Mayan god of death, to bring him a feather from the coat of Quetzalcoatl and a piece of the flying serpent in exchange for help getting home. Sounds so simple, right?
Xena, Gabby, and Dischord head for the Temple Of Q’uq’umatz only to discover all is not as it seems. Worse yet, Dischord carelessly swore an oath with Kisin, binding all three of there souls to this deal. This is what happened when you agree to things without listening.
Art & Writing of Xena Warrior Princess #3
Vita Ayala continues delivering exactly what I look for in a Xena story. Expanding on a beloved series while remaining true to the original existing property is a monumental task. Many good, even great, writers have failed at this. Ayala, however, is more than up to the task.
In Xena Warrior Princess #3 Ayala draws the focus in on Xena and Gabrielle. They show us how the ladies relate to one another, with the circumstances being secondary but no less important. Xena remains practical, cool natured, and focused on straight forward ways to solve the problem. Ayala deftly drops bits of love and warmth throughout each book and shows that Xena lets her guard down only when she and Gabrielle are in private.
Ayala’s Gabby is every bit the Renee O’Connor characterization, but with a bit more confidence and a dash of snark. Think later seasons of the Xena series. Gabby’s natural warmth bleeds through even her most tense moments. I love how Ayala has Gabby play to her strengths. Gabby’s natural charisma, diplomacy, and especially her talent with words comes into play as much as Xena’s fighting skills.
In Xena Warrior Princess #3, Dischord’s character walks the line between playfulness and “pain in the posterior.” Her interactions with the other two make it clear that she is glad to have been stuck with them rather than on her own. Overhearing their conversation wouldn’t have stung as much if she wasn’t fond of them. I can’t wait to see how Ayala’s story plays out.
Perez brings the exoticness of the locale to vibrant life. By altering the art style just a bit, Perez brings to Xena Warrior Princess #3 exactly the sense of being in a different world that our characters are experiencing. By making sure that it’s close to the look of the first two issues but not quite the same, Perez balances series consistency with the story changes. I look forward to seeing how Perez handles the next shift.
Colorist Rebecca Nalty builds on the newness of the environment, enhancing the feeling of strangeness. She gives us with rich greens and blues, shaping the atmosphere with feelings of life and wonder as the trio explore. She transitions to orange, yellow, and red hues for high action or danger scenes, which subtly signals the level of peril our ladies face.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t give letterer Ariana Maher huge kudos for her work in this issue. Coming up with the perfect symbols for the native language of the presumably Mayan tribes had to be a feat. She also bolds certain words in the native language, which offers a hint of meaning in the context of those panels.
Rating: 9 / 10 Pull List Material
1 – 2 Stars = Take a Pass
3 – 4 Stars = Give it A Look
5 – 6 Stars = Borrow or Browse
6 – 7 Stars = Buy
8 – 10 Stars = Pull List Material
Xena Warrior Princess #3 does a wonderful job of reminding me how much I miss the Xena TV series. This series will be remaining on my pull list for the foreseeable future. It embodies all the pieces that I loved about the show and yet gives me a brand new story that keeps me interested.
MAJK’s Age Recommendation:
Xena Warrior Princess #3 is an easy a 12+ age level. It’s engaging with just the right balance of relationship and action while maintaining the spirit of the original Xena and Hercules TV shows. There’s minimal death, blood, etc. which makes it a good read for anyone who enjoys sword and sorcery stories. I guess if you have serious issues with explicit lesbian relationships then you may not like it. I don’t have that issue.