Review: Swords of Sorrow Pantha & Jane Porter One-Shot

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Swords of Sorrow Pantha and Jane Porter, Cover by Mirka Andolfo, story by Emma Beeby, Dynamite 2015Swords of Sorrow: Pantha & Jane Porter

Emma Beeby (script), Rod Rodolfo (illustration), Nanjan Jamberi (colors), Erica Schultz (letters)
Mirka Andolfo (cover)
Dynamite
August 26, 2015

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Ginnis: Wow, that was a fast read! I feel like this issue packed a lot into a one-shot in a way many of the other stories haven’t done quite as well. What about you? What did you think?

Al: There was SO MUCH. Here is a snippet about Pantha, terrifying Goddess. Here is a page of men complaining about how Jane thinks she’s tough shit. Now they’re meeting in the middle of conflict and having to save the world together and everything is happening all at once. I found the beginning rough, just sort of a sudden world collision, but I do think they wrapped it up well. I know it’s a one-shot, and I don’t necessarily think there’s enough there for a series, but didn’t it seem like it could have been setting up for a series?

Now I love a good one-shot. Hellboy: Being Human comes to mind as an excellent example of a sort of similar storyline. While reading P&JP, I just kept wondering about the pair of them, their chemistry.

Gin: I felt like the breakneck speed suited the plot, and in a sense, it is setting up for a series, since it’s a part of the larger Swords of Sorrow event. I thought their chemistry was okay, again, it was all so fast; the establishment of that chemistry was rushed. It’s been interesting to see how plotting is occurring with all these different one-shots and minis and how they play into the main series. It’ll be interesting to reread these all again after the series is wrapped up. I think that will really lend itself to a very different reading.

What do you know about these characters? How did that impact your reading of them?

Al: Well, not much I suppose. I watched Tarzan as a child and read some of the books later on. I’ve been aware of Pantha, but never read anything with her in it. So, I was going in pretty much a slightly-Disney-tinted blank slate. I think it probably helped. Any expectations may have been too many, when it comes to the character formation here.

Gin: Yeah, the most I knew about Jane Porter was “Hey, Tarzan!” And what I knew about Pantha was that was she was a minor deity of ancient Egypt who was cursed with immortality for a killing spree she committed in ancient times. And, the God Ra gave her the ability to turn into a panther or half-panther. And that is after research, not on account of first hand knowledge. Though I would be interested in reading more about both characters if Beeby was given more space to flesh something out.

We had the typical formula of hating one another at first, but they resolved their differences pretty quickly. What did you think of that? I know the in-fighting has come up a lot in our review of this series.

Al: Oh, Gin, I hate it. I hate it so much. Here the world is falling apart, PICK A FIGHT! Both of them are drawn as hot-headed, which makes some sense, but doesn’t offer much of a spectrum of personality. And then it’s all wrapped up with the cheesiest final close up. Did that feel organic to you at all?

Gin: Not even a little bit. I mean I am of the opinion that wine can resolve many differences even though Jane dissed wine for champagne (which, they are both great, okay?!). Sarah Wolfypants pointed out that it does make sense for many of these very assertive, independent female characters to be prickly with one another, but I agree with you at this point; it is making all these female characters feel too similar.

Al: Yes, both of these women are strong personalities. One is the daughter of a god and the other has to constantly fight for her authority. But they rile up and calm down at the same time. They make the same kinds of jokes (though Jane was a bit more 1940s noir humor.

Gin: Okay, what did you think of the art? I have thoughts.

Al: Uuuh, well. Lots of muscles, just all around. Lots of clothing … choices. Which particularly stuck out to me in Jane’s case. Off topic: this typo: “this must my expedition team.”
Swords of Sorrow Pantha and Jane Porter, art by Rod Rodolfo, Story by Emma Beeby, Dynamite 2015
And, OMG, this face.

Swords of Sorrow Pantha and Jane Porter, art by Rod Rodolfo, Story by Emma Beeby, Dynamite 2015

Gin: Ha, yeah, I caught that, too. We are such editor nerds, and I loved the moment of Pantha. Despite it being her panther face, it felt like a fun, quick way to humanize the character. Oh, but the art, I hated it, right from the first panel. Perspective was really bizarre, the shadowing was too intense a lot of the time. I do, however, appreciate how muscular Pantha was drawn, but also her costume—like she needs a waxer for something that low, and I am always befuddled as to how so many of these characters from ancient worlds find waxers. Note to self: research history of waxing and body hair removal. I was impressed by the amount of detail in the characters, background, and foreground, but it also got to be so much going on; where the hell does my eye go?!

Al: Looking over it all again right now, I find myself liking the color scheme more. I very much agree with you about my restless eye, and I think that was part of my problem with the pacing. No quiet panels. But everything looks very cohesive, if way too hairless.

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Smashing the patriarchy with glitter, pink lipstick, and cowboy boots. You can follow her on Instagram @ginnistonik

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