Aspen Comics/Big Dog Ink 2015
Written by Kim Hutchison & Kari Castor
Illustrated by Mike Krome
Coloured by Nei Ruffino
Often it’s hard to find a strong female lead that can inspire you and cause you to fear her wrath and still be completely spellbound by. However what Kim and Kari do here does just that Shahrazad is one of those women. There’s a mystery surrounding her that Janus demonstrates so aptly and we see her here tell this story about her past and a time when she didn’t even fully know herself making this come to life in such ways that really stand out. Not only does she go toe to toe with Janus but she manages to gain the respect of those members of her crew that have survived this whole adventure.
Granted there are moments when I feel that her attire is a bit much, or should we say less, impractical and stressing her curvaceous figure but still Mike manages to keep her sexy as all get out and incredibly strong and powerful at the same time. Actually Mike’s work throughout this series has been amazing and his version of Janus and the sirens with his backgrounds, panel layouts and sequential storytelling visually has really been a standout for this series. I cannot to follow him and his career because the work he does here shouldn’t be the last we praise his work.
That we see the ramifications of what Shahrazad does to the siren latched to the bow of the ship, basically freeing her, come back into play here was very nicely done. While I do wish we’d seen more about how Janus earned the wrath of the three sirens with a little intelligence and some assuming we can jump to a conclusion about his role in their lives and it not being something he should be proud of and hubris is something that will bite you in the end.
One of the things I liked about his opening arc is that we get a fantastic introduction to Shahrazad and her limitless potential. While it’s somewhat sad that we may not get to know her supporting characters and see them in each arc it does demonstrate her personality traits and that she’s a likable person who can through her words and actions inspire faith and trust from those around her. Her loyalty to those that she works with and considers friends is clearly shown here as well as her feelings of loss for those that don’t make it through this. All of this makes her one of those unique characters who can straddle the line between fearless warrior and compassionate companion.
With as great as the words and story are the real star here is the work done by Mike and Nei. These pages are textbook when it comes to bringing the words to life in such powerful ways. So much emotion and feelings come from what we see here and it’s a huge reason why I want this team to return to continue telling her further adventures many of those are hinted at in the story’s ending.
Shahrazad is quite possibly the most fascinating female lead to come out of comics since Wonder Woman.