Swords of Sorrow: Dejah Thoris and Irene Adler. What a pairing! I have been looking forward to this ever since the Swords of Sorrow titles were given. Unfortunatly, Dejah Thoris and Irene Adler #1 is something of a disappointment. While it is a splendid introduction for Irene Adler, the two women only spend a brief time together, and the issue introduces what is, on the face of it, an entirely unnecessary villain.
Leah Moore provides a splendid introduction to Irene Alder, establishing her place in the English intelligence system, showing her as intelligent, confident, and extremely skilled. She gets to snark at Mycroft, wear an elegant, sweeping gown, dress as her brother, and set out to hunt a large, unknown beast armed only with the strange sword the messenger gave her. Brava!
When it comes to Dejah Thoris, on the other hand, I was far to distracted by her opening pose and the sheer ugliness of the costume to pay much attention to the character. I am used to Red Sonja’s metal bikini, and it does look like it might stay on the wearer. Dejah Thoris, on the other hand, is wearing ugly metal breast-cups that look as though they are being held on by suction cups, and Francesco Manna introduces her sitting in an extremely uncomfortable, legs spread, position. Inlight Studios have also given pale white skin some of the time; at others, it is hard to tell whether her skin is properly red-hued or if it is the ambient light. At least she gets to show off her sword-fighting skills later. That is a plus, and there are a couple of close-ups that make her look like she might be the fighter she is alleged to be.
I do wish Leah Moore had taken the time spent on him and given Dejah Thoris and Irene Adler more than the three pages they have together in this issue. I want to see them working together, not fighting on separate planets. There is reason to hope that the separation is temporary: Dejah is going to have to do some scrambling to get from where she is at the end of this issue to where she is in Swords of Sorrow #2 (This book seems to take place between numbers one and two of the main book).
One reason the two spend so little time together is that the issue also introduces a new villain, a ruthless (and rather stupid) hunter from Victorian England. At this point, he seems surplus to requirements. There is already a perfectly good cadre of villains in Swords of Sorrow, and this man is a lone hunter on a planet full of warriors.
Sadly, the most promising pairing of the spinoff series gets the weakest introduction. Vampirella fought a T-Rex and faced a serial killer with Jennifer Blood. Kato and Masquerade battled one of the Prince’s allies. Dejah Thoris and Red Sonja outsmarted an army of goons. So far, Irene Adler and Dejah Thoris have had a brief spell of misunderstanding one another and a lion-ish sort of monster plus big game hunter neither have met. I hope the caliber of villain and of interaction goes up as this series progresses: I really, really want to see the two women working together.
Swords of Sorrow: Dejah Thoris & Irene Adler #1 comes out June 17, 2015 from Dynamite Comics.
Writer: Leah Moore
Artist: Francesco Manna
Letters: Erica Schultz
Colors: Inlight Studio
Cover: Jay Anacleto with colors by Ivan Nunes