Nothing in the past five years has been more fun as far as comic book events are concerned than Dynamite Comics’ ever-growing crossovers incorporating their huge roster of licensed characters. The New 52 and Convergence events from DC Comics and the Secret Wars event from Marvel Comics are so much more of the same–pulling in dozens of titles and character crossovers over the course of several months. All of these publisher events attempt to reinvigorate their brands–to bring more people in to try out the regular monthly series featuring their stock of characters, whether you’re looking at the Avengers or the X-Men or the Justice League. Dynamite’s events also pull from their stock of characters, yet the publisher has managed to unleash something very new in the way these characters come together.
Dynamite’s Masks limited series introduced a pantheon of superheroes from the literary past: Green Hornet and Kato, The Shadow, Miss Fury, Spider, The Lone Ranger, Zorro, the Green Lama, Black Terror and The Black Bat (a second limited monthly follow-on series, Masks 2, is underway now). Then Bill Willingham expanded and amped up the Dynamite characters with his Legenderry steampunk adventures. Another limited series, this one introduced the Six Thousand Dollar Man, teaming up with a parallel world, steampunk era Red Sonja, Zorro, Flash Gordon, Green Hornet, the Phantom, and more. It now has its own expanded event series of sorts with Legenderry universe monthly series featuring each of Vampirella, Red Sonja, and Green Hornet.
But Dynamite’s best crossover event series may have just arrived with writer Gail Simone and artist Sergio Davila’s new Swords of Sorrow. A dark prince has enlisted an arsenal of women warriors to defend his interests, including the well-known red, horned villainess Purgatori. But a mysterious and beautiful otherworld woman called the Traveller has assigned various swords to her own select group of women warriors via the Courier, across time and space–from Everywhere and Everywhen to Nowhen–to defend worlds menaced by this prince. Her heroines include Red Sonja, Vampirella, Irene Adler, Dejah Thoris, Jennifer Blood, Jane Porter, Lady Zorro, Milan Kato, Masquerade, Black Sparrow, Miss Fury, Pantha, Lady Rawhide, and Jana the Jungle Girl.
Leading a select team of women writers in nine Swords of Sorrow tie-in series and one-shots, Gail Simone has her challenges here, required to pull together more than a dozen main characters quickly, explaining enough to let us know who they are for those unfamiliar with them all, and set up enough world-building to let us understand how they all fit together. This may be the best we’ve read of any series from Simone so far, as Issue #1 of the six backbone issues gives us all we need to get excited to see what comes next. Sergio Davila’s artwork is as detailed and interesting as his work on Legenderry, sure to keep us interested to come back for more each month. Check out the full checklist of the crossover series below.
This series may be known down the road as the 2015 series with the most cover variants–after the Star Wars #1 launch this past winter. Swords of Sorrow, Issue #1, includes thumbnails of each at the back of the book. Look for some stunning fantasy art through the end of the event in October, including many exquisite designs by Tula Lotay aka Lisa Wood (someone to watch as the next breakout artist) and classic pulp covers by Robert Hack.
You can’t go wrong when a series makes you wish for real-life props for the talisman introduced in the series. Each character gets a blade of a design custom fit for the heroine. Check out these gorgeous designs:
The first tie-in issue of the series hit shelves this past week: Swords of Sorrow: Vampirella & Jennifer Blood, Issue #1 of 4, written by Nancy A. Collins with art by Dave Acosta. Where you don’t need to know much about Vampirella to jump into action with her, Collins’ challenge in Issue #1 is to introduce Jennifer Blood–a character many have never read about before. Blood is known as one of the best kickass women characters in comics, and she’s also the most violent, dark, and lethal.
Here’s the full checklist for the series:
Add all these to you comic books store pull lists now!