Writer: John Layman
Artist: Noah Salonga, Chris Garcia (colors)
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
I have never watched even a single complete episode of the Xena television series. I have also never read a print story starring any character of the series.
There is a reason for my starting this review with such a declaration. In the course of this review and those for any future Xena stories I might cover, it's possible that I might make some differing (wrong) interpretations from the TV and comic continuity of the characters involved, most of whom I have no knowledge about. On such an occasion, I welcome any corrections by veteran Xena fans. At the same time, I would also appreciate not being chewed out a new one for the same inadvertent mistakes.
Now then, letís get on with the story - starting with its timeline. It says that the events of this issue (at least the ones in the opening pages) are set sometime after the series finale of Xena: Warrior Princess. Whether this means the TV show or the previous comic series, I do not know. Fortunately for new readers, like me, there is very little here that requires prior knowledge of the events leading up to this series. As for the story here, I feel like rhyming:
- Xena dies, Gabrielle cries;
- Gabrielle goes for a long walk, in search for a certain someone to talk;
- She finds the elder God, and he is a real old sod;
- She wishes to have Xena back, but the old coot is busy squeezing her rack (along with her neck);
- The God gives a warning, but the poor woman is too much into mourning;
- In the end Gabrielle gets her wish, only to realize soon enough that it is not quite the same dish.
Something that I did not know, which I take the TV show fans would, was that at a point in her life Xena wasnít, well, quite heroic. She was, in fact, quite UN-heroic; she was (semi-)evil; she was "Dark." It is to that time in her life-journey that the warrior princess gets returned back to. Not only she is dark, she also has no recollection of Gabrielle, having still not met her.
The issue closes with Gabrielle realizing her mistake and knowing that she has to put an end to this "Dark" Xena, either by turning her good or by, well, killing her again.
As far as the art goes, this is my first time reading Noah Salongaís pencils or Chris Garciaís colors (I think) and for what I have seen in Dark Xena #1, I really hope that this isnít the last. Salonga and Garciaís art is, at the same time, lively and deep, (occasionally) dark yet strikingly beautiful, cheescakey yet mature. I really look forward to seeing more from them, preferably together. As for the cover, my copyís was from the always excellent Stjepan Sejic. Itís Sejic-brilliance as usual.
Conclusion: Will Dark Xena #1 get me to check out the TV show? Not on my life. How about previous Xena comic series? Not quite sure. Well, how about this mini (to its completion)? Definitely, provided the writing and artwork remain the same.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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