Weekend Warrior: Xena #1 Review

by Batmanaruto on February 17, 2018

Welcome to our Weekend Warriors, where we do reviews in a similar way to how we do our Collective Consensus reviews. The staff do a review of one book, that we didn't get the chance to cover during the week. The book would be a one-shot, start of a new series or the start of a new arc, just so that anyone can jump into the book. The multiple reviews allows readers to get a wide range of opinions and the sense of how the book is.

Dynamite comics solicitations: The path to redemption is never easy, and the journey of a warrior princess seeking to wash the blood of innocents from her hands is no exception. Xena travels to Athens, to plead for redemption in the temple of Eleos. But some things can never be forgiven and the shadows of past sins are long. Will Xena find redemption or betrayal waiting for her in the temple of the gods? The power, the passion, the danger.

Writer: Meredith Finch
Artist: Vicente Cifuentes
Colorist: Triona Farrell
Publisher: Dynamite Comics

This is my first foray into the world of Xena. I never watched the show or read any previous incarnations of the character. I imagined the world to be much the same as the Conan and Red Sonja type of universe.  It was very much what I expected.

The story itself was a nice introduction to Xena. If you didn’t she was a powerful warrior with a good heart, you do now. The parts I found most interesting were the developments of the secondary cast of characters. They got some shine in this debut issue and I’m anxious to learn more about them.

The art was a pleasant surprise in this issue. It had a nice forest backdrop with strong character design. The issue took place in a single spot in the forest so I’m hoping to get a better sense of the artist’s style next issue as the characters continue their journey to Athens.

I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with this title but I’ll give it at another issue to try and show me how it’s different than other warrior women fantasy books. I also want to see how the artist fairs with different backdrops.

Forgive me for being a hopeless History Nerd, but when you introduce a harmonica into your Ancient Greek Daze comic, you instantly distract me with questions like, "How anachronistic is that compared to, say, filming the Crucifixion with an iPhone?" 

I believe it's *at least* that anachronistic, and possibly several centuries further out of whack. Xena is set in an amorphous muddle of a time period, but not amorphous enough to excuse a 19th-century instrument landing in Gabrielle's pack just for the sake of a cheap joke.

While that's certainly not the road Meredith Finch and Vicente Cifuentes *want* to send the reader down, I contend that it's rather more interesting than anything they actually put on the pages. Xena saves an unnamed bard (seriously, you couldn't even be bothered to slide Gabrielle's *name* into the story?) from bandits who are clumsily portrayed as former followers of warlord Xena in order to establish her current focus on redemption.

"Clumsy" is the operative word I'm drawn to over and over when considering the script and the art. It applies particularly to Vicente Cifuentes' action drawing. Though he has significant skill at drawing forms and faces, he resoundingly and repeatedly fails to progress his fight scenes in a readable, logical fashion. The script is similarly ham-handed in hanging hearts on sleeves and steering the plot in an obvious "let's team up" direction.

Though the creators doubtless have the best of intentions, I can't help but imagine this performance as doubly disappointing. Big-time Xena fans could well be outraged with this dull reimagining of the fairly important "How Gabrielle Met Xena" story, and newcomers simply aren't likely to see any reason to follow this formulaic tale into subsequent issues.

I'm not familiar with Xena at all however I feel that after reading this I am potentially interested in the character. The first half of the story is really uninteresting as this woman seems to get robbed by some guys. There is no effort to really develop these characters until Xena finally appears which improves the book drastically. We then find out that these robbers used to be part of the Xena's army and that Xena is now trying to be a hero. Even though I'm not familiar with the character it does seem like a huge change for the character and feels like it is meant to be important. The art is alright however the fight scenes do not look great.

Those are all our reviews of Xena #1! The reactions seem to be pretty mixed. What do you think? Tell us below, on Facebook, or on Twitter!!!


Our Score:


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