Story: Dennis Culver
Art: Justin Greenwood
Colors: Brad Simpson
Letterer: Pat Brousseau
What They Say:
Now that Bloody Bliss has witnessed firsthand the carnage of D’Kayde, she prepares to face him in battle. But what can an old crone do against a resurrected warlord of death? Also continuing this issue: Romero Muerte!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Crone covered a lot of ground in its first two installments and the third just adds to it with a lot going on here even while most of it is in battle. Dennis Culver is playing with familiar story points within the fantasy realm but the execution is smooth and enjoyable, making it a solidly executed experience which is what I want in these situations. Working with Justin Greenwood, this issue delivers a good bit on the action side with plenty going on here but also a lot of solid characterization stuff that comes across well through the facial expressions. Greenwood really captures the snarl that comes out of Bliss’ mouth regularly and it’s utterly delightful.
The bookends to this issue are nicely today together hits up an area that I wasn’t exactly thinking about but wasn’t surprised by. The past is what gets it moving as we see the dynamic between the old trio together while the fight against D’Kayde went on. The Bliss and Vor fought/practiced against each other is no surprise but that there’s a bit about it is fun as it involves her becoming his queen should he best her someday. Her winning, which is what keeps happening, involves his serving her in battle. Which is why it is and isn’t a surprise when we get to the end and the elderly Bliss finally gets to face off against D’Kayde once more only to discover he hasn’t truly come back but rather that Vor has taken on the role himself. It’s a big blow to be sure because it shows once again what her retreat from the world has created even as she continues to try and justify it.
In between all of that, we get to see more of how Bliss is discovering the world has changed. She’s still clear about Guptar’s daughter not being up for the task and when she finds the son is running the show against D’Kayde, she’s even more wary. But particularly because it looks like they’re trying to use Bliss as a figurehead for the larger battle, a rallying cry and point of inspiration on the battlefield as opposed to an actual leader. That has her ready to cut and run but that’s when D’Kayde’s forces themselves show up and start causing a terror. The action is solid here with bodies dropping and body parts flying all while Bliss does her best to protect those that she needs to. Having it lead into seeing D’Kayde himself and who he really is turns out to be one of those stomach-dropping moments for her.
Though Crone features a lot of familiar things to most fantasy fans I’m finding it to be an absolute delight. I haven’t engaged with the genre much for a long time so it’s definitely working well for me on that front. But the simple truth is that Culver and Greenwood are hitting all the right notes for it with a solid competence and a zest of fun about it that it’s a little intoxicating. Each issue reveals a good bit about what’s going on and how it all operates and why with some solid twists that keeps it hopping and fun. This issue does a great job on that front and it really makes me want to see something like this in live-action form since it would have some great casting about and trying to capture Greenwood’s expressive Bliss would be a delight.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: December 4th, 2019