Aspen Comics/Big Dog Ink 2015
Written by Kim Hutchison & Kari Castor
Illustrated by Mike Krome
Coloured by Nei Ruffino
There’s something very special about this series and I love Mike and Nei’s interiors because they really are something so vibrant, alive and gorgeous. From seeing all the opponents that Janus throws at Shahrazad to the way the three sirens of the sea look in various states, oh and there’s Janus and Shahrazad as well, it all brings this world magically, godly and of the past (see the Colosseum) together in a perfect way.
What I found fascinating this issue wasn’t seeing her forced into fight after fight after fight just for Janus’ pleasure though it does show her remarkable constitution but it’s really the focus on Janus as he watches her and uses his scrying to find her beginning. He needed her to keep fighting to weaken enough so that he could finally read her. I liked that it was so hard for him to read her and that we see his frustration in having to do so much. This is the god Janus for crying out loud he shouldn’t have to work so hard for what he wants to know and it’s these chinks in his armour that make him really fascinating.
That her crew has found her finally and have to race through the coleseum to get closer to her in the center of the arena as they must watch as she repeatedly faces opponent after opponent. While they cannot immediately help her they do see her in action and they all reach a newfound respect for their Captain as she repeatedly bests those that come after her.
With the exception of the sirens interlude where they manage to free their sister from the mast of that ship and head for the one who betrayed them, the way this story unfolds is incredible to see. When Janus has finally seen enough and realizes who and what she is and takes direct action is when we as the reader learn about her as well and it’s we learn right after he does that’s a nice tool to have. Not giving it away ahead of time not revealing it to us but having us discover alongside is something I appreciate.
Now along with this being the introduction to such a magnificent character it also sets up this rivalry and connection of sorts with Janus that could plague her for quite some time to come and with the imminent arrival of the three sirens will we see the god stay and fight or retreat to regroup and come stronger? These are question that have yet to be answered and hopefully next we’ll see how things go. I’m almost sad that it seems only two of her crew remain alive at this stage and I fear none will survive this first story.
Having not read the initial story i’ve no way of really knowing what was changed, cleaned up or tightened to make this as delightful as it is right now but whatever it was I wholly appreciate because in this I’ve found a fascinating, strong and determined woman who could possibly rival in personality and intrigue any other character around.