1) Sword of Sorcery
My first thought when I saw this was, “DC has a fantasy thing? Huh…” and then I figured, “Sure, why not give it a try? I love fantasy.” And I bought it, got distracted by other books, and didn’t get around to reading it until a couple years later.
It’s pretty darn good! Maybe I’m biased because a lot of the themes are similar to a story I’ve been slowly writing myself, but Sword of Sorcery is set in an interesting world amidst political power struggles and features a quick-thinking, big-hearted female protagonist in her teens. Amaya/Amy is a likable hero who never gets annoying. She’s surrounded by a cast of other strong women who play well off of her.
The only flaw that stands out to me is the seemingly instant flirtation between Amaya and Preet. He’s the “dashing rogue” caught stealing from the royal treasury, their touch sparks a magical reaction that gives him away as heir to the throne, he tries to run, and then there’s the whole “Oops, I fell on top of you!” moment. It’s saved by the series ending and not giving the characters enough time to solidify a romance.
The best part of the series? Mordiel’s redemption arc. Yes, you can see it coming a mile away, and it does feel premature (probably because they knew the run would be cancelled) but it’s still there, and it’s still effective – if only because there aren’t enough redemption stories around.
Artwork in this is lovely. It belongs in a comic. Colours are generally vibrant, adding to the magic and fantasy of the book.
It’s a shame the series didn’t continue. There are a bunch of plotlines left open and I would have loved to learn more about the rich world and its characters. Some parts feel rushed, but there’s only so much story you can cram into about 6 issues. It’s ambitious (rightfully so), memorable, and has a lot of potential that it would have lived up to given the time. Hopefully, DC takes a chance on bringing it back someday.
This story is alone worth the price of the book.
And then there’s the issue of Beowulf afterwards. Why? I dunno… I guess he fits into the fantasy theme? He’s basically Wolverine: a lab-altered supersoldier who’s gruff and kills like nobody’s business but has a soft spot for kids. So yeah, I like him. There’s an intriguing backstory to him that I want to know more about, and it’s interesting the way they twist the old legend with modern technology. The art is nice, too.
This issue, on the other hand, doesn’t have an obvious reason to be part of this book. Unless DC really wanted him to tie into something Constantine related. Amaya does go on an adventure with Constantine, but we’re missing half that story in the collection. Why they didn’t include that story instead of this one, I can’t figure out.
Some guy makes a deal with the devil to save his wife and unborn child. Of course, they eventually die and he’s given immortal life and murders a bunch of people because he’s angry. He’s makes a deal to get his soul back if he kills this one specific woman, and he doesn’t do it and has to fight the devil.
The art is ugly and what was an interesting idea wasn’t executed well enough for me to care about anything that happened.