Review: Swords of Sorrow #5

Swords of Sorrow #5, written by Gail Simone, Cover by Tula Lotay, Dynamite 2015Swords of Sorrow #5

Gail Simone (words), Sergio Davila (lines), Jorge Sutil (colors), Erica Schultz (letters)
Tula Lotay (cover A), Emanuela Lupacchino & Ivan Nunes (cover B), Robert Hack (cover C), cosplay cover
September 9, 2015

Disclaimer: This review may contain spoilers and is based on an advanced review copy from Dynamite.

It is the penultimate issue of the Swords of Sorrow series, and we have thoughts on covers, story, and art!

Swords of Sorrow #5, written by Gail Simone, cosplay variant, Dynamite 2015Covers

Ginnis: Lotay’s cover has been getting a lot of hype ever since it started making the rounds, and rightfully so. I think it stands out so much because it shows how effectively characters can be reimagined. I mean this cover is soooo sexy, and the characters are totally covered! Also, did you notice the bat cuff links on Vampi’s outfit? And, the cosplay variant—these ladies are so awesome! Anyone know more about them?

Kate: I’m a big fan of this cover for the exact same reasons! It’s sexy, but it passes the G. Willow Wilson Test—they’re all covered up, and none of the poses are overtly sexualized—even the pose on the floor is something that a man could be drawn in without it looking overtly feminine.

Melinda: Lotay’s cover makes me think business casual out for drinks, and I love it. This actually looks like a victory party these three ladies would attend.

Wendy: Lotay’s cover is eeeeeverything, but I still greatly appreciate the cosplay ladies for continuing to show how sexy and even skimpy doesn’t have to be ridiculously objectifying.

Swords of Sorrow #5
Welcome to the party, Red.


Gin: Okay, since new characters keep popping up, I had to try and pin them all down. In the main crew, you have Red Sonja, Dejah Thoris, and Vampirella. On the North Guard, there’s a blonde Amazon type who could be Athena, maybe? Athena has shown up before in a crossover with Red Sonja. There’s some redhead; I don’t know, it’s not Lady Rawhide. Then there’s Kato, The Traveller, and Irene Adler. On the East, you have the Ninjettes (which I looked up and oy), Eva, Miss Fury, and Jennifer Blood. Finally, on the Southwest Guard, there’s Red Riding Hood, Black Sparrow, Jane Porter, Jungle Girl, Pantha, and Lady Zorro. Masquerade showed up earlier, but doesn’t appear to be on any of the stair guards. Also, I couldn’t’ find Lady Rawhide. Is that all of them?

More and more I think Gail Simone was like, “I am going to take all these Dynamite lady characters and they are all going to get to be more than scenery, dammit!” It’s just an ambitious romp, and I am a little lost and confused, but also enjoying the romp for what it is.

Kate: Am I the only one shipping Jane Porter and Jungle Girl? But I understand that feeling of being overwhelmed by the sheer number of characters, which I think is on purpose. But I do feel the scope of Simone’s story is bigger than the number of books she’s been limited to. Also, I really loved the Snow White twist. Fairy tales seemed to be the one element that was missing, really, when it comes to the types of fantasy these women from disparate genres represent.

Melinda: I knew Chastity was on the wrong side, and I hope she changes sides before the war. I groaned at even more chit-chat among the heroines, but I got to admit, I love The Ninjettes and funnel cake. I enjoyed the way the Traveller made a grand entrance and immediately took control.

Swords of Sorrow #5
The party don’t start till I walk in…

Now I feel like we’re getting somewhere. I don’t mind the confusion with all the characters, as I tend to scan through and focus on my favorites anyway. I’m still not sure how I feel about the Charming is a woman-hater, man scorned storyline. And that could be because I’m missing something along the way. I really believe this is a series I’ll need to go back and read again once we get to the last issue. I still do not see the big picture of how they are going to wrap this up in one more issue.

Wendy: I continue to hate Purgatori sexing the prince and then having to actually see it as if her “my love” crap throughout all the other books didn’t make this gratuitous turn of events obvious. The sheer number of characters—all of whom basically stand around talking a lot in this issue after explaining that they’ve been standing there all night talking—has reached critical annoyance. Yet another character is introduced for no useful reason other than to give justification to the man hating prince and his man hating posse. We couldn’t have a story that brings all these women together that didn’t focus on yet utterly gloss over misogyny? Special love for the arrival of the Traveller in a wonderful Glinda moment to basically say, “Well I gave y’all those swords so you can defeat the bad guy, but didn’t think it useful to send the Messenger with an actual message to that effect.”

Swords of Sorrow #5
Just click your swords together three times…

Amanda: This is really difficult for me, but to be honest, this series is starting to lose me. I love, love, love the concept, and I adore Gail Simone, but I think the story is just too big for the available issues. If the entire point is that there are many, many awesome and strong female characters out there, then Swords of Sorrow has absolutely succeeded. If it’s to tell a cohesive story, well, I’m going to have to wait to see how this wraps up. To somewhat echo Melinda’s statement from above, I keep thinking to myself, “Maybe I would like this better if I read it in trade paperback rather than in separate issues.” I’m too bewildered by the many characters to track it well across issues. But Kate, you BET I’m shipping Jungle Girl and Jane Porter! Match made in, uh, across worlds?

Swords of Sorrow #5Art

Gin: I noticed a distinct difference between the colors on the PDF I had of the cover and the cover for the PDF of the comic so I am hesitant to say anything about the colors considering this. Did anyone else have a similar problem?

Kate: There was a difference for me between cover colors and interiors, but I assumed that was intentional on the cover artist’s part.

Melinda: I can’t help going back to the art in the sex scene. It’s hot.

Wendy: At times the art is great, and I love the dynamic action shots, but other times, it seems like lazy scribbles that make it even more difficult to tell all the women apart.

Gin: Yeah, but there are soooo many characters to draw that shorthanding some panels makes sense to me.

Amanda: I don’t have a problem with shorthanding some panels, because I still understand what’s happening. As I’ve said in previous issues, I like the art, but I am rarely wowed by it. But yeah, that scene between Purgatori and the Prince—wow. Leaving aside the fact that I don’t particularly like how much she panders toward the Prince, that was, um, quite the climax.

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Ginnis Tonik

Ginnis Tonik

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