Story: Dennis Culver
Art: Justin Greenwood
Colors: Brad Simpson
Letterer: Pat Brousseau
What They Say:
One more battle for Bloody Bliss! The Sword Saviour and Champion of Men once known as BLOODY BLISS is now nothing more than a reclusive old CRONE. Does she have the strength to answer the call for one last adventure? Only Dennis Culver (Burnouts, E is for Extinction) and Justin Greenwood (Stumptown, The Last Siege) know for sure in this story that is equal parts Unforgiven and Xena: Warrior Princess. From Burnouts creator Dennis Culver and acclaimed artist Justin Greenwood!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The comics market continues to frustrate me as I grew up reading a lot of fantasy and playing a lot of fantasy games but there are so few fantasy comics out there. Dark Horse helps to offset that a bit with Crone, which has writer Dennis Culver taking some familiar ideas and giving it a new coat of paint with a lot of potential. Working with Justin Greenwood as the artist, the opening gives us a number of familiar launching points but it executes it with a solid grasp of what needs to be introduced while giving us a great looking book – though I think the whole nearly naked warrior woman gimmick has been dated for years, which was the only misstep I think it took. But beyond that, Greenwood gives us a really strong-looking book.
The premise is one that I like in that it’s about bringing someone back to the fight that they thought finished long ago. We see in a flashback about how years ago, Bloody Bliss and her comrades stormed the ruins of a fortress castle where evil festered for years and brought about the conquering D’kayde. While she has strong support from her allies, Bliss was the type that reveled in battle and excelled in it, proving to be the one that would bring the end of D’kayde. But as we see, the years since have been a mix for her as she’s retreated to atop a mountain where every day she makes the choice whether to take her own life and end things or to continue on. A deep loss is mixed into that in-between period of her past which is teased as a reveal for the next issue but it sets up an easy to understand piece that resonates well.
When one of her old companions comes back seeking her along with his daughter, it’s really no surprise that a) a new threat has arrived and b) it’s the resurfacing of her old opponent. These are tried and true things and there are always ways of bringing new things to the surface through this method. Bliss, no an old crone as she presents herself, is definitely still highly skilled but time has taken a toll on her and she certainly looks the age. But there’s a clarity to her that’s compelling, even if she is off-putting at first in not wanting to engage with anyone, even an old comrade like Gaspar. Her life of loss has her unwilling to teach anyone what she knows and she really is just in that waiting to wind-down phase. But knowing that this will bring her back is something that makes it interesting, especially since we’ve seen this story played often with men/elder kings and the like and it usually leads to their big final sacrifice and endgame.
While I wasn’t looking for a new book to pick up, the look that the cover gives with her expression and the title just made me have to check it out. It’s a solidly executed opening book that sets the stage well, gives us the key deatils in a way that we can understand quickly, and sets into motion the story that it wants to tell. That puts it light years ahead of a lot other books that want to give off a complexity that’s unearned and often just leaves me frustrated, as though the writer is building walls to break through before I can come in. Here, Culver makes this a hugely inviting and accessible book while Greenwood gives ut all that appeal it needs with good fight pages and solid characters pages. It’s my first experience with these creators in general and I’m definitely liking what I’m seeing and have some good hopes for this run.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: November 6th, 2019