Xena: Warrior Princess #2 Vita Ayala (writer), Paulina Ganucheau, Emanuela Lupacchino, David Mack (covers), Ariana Maher (lettering), Rebecca Nalty (colors), Olympia Sweetnam and Vasil Georgiev (art) Dynamite Comics May 8th, 2019 Vasil Georgiev joins Olympia Sweetnam in drawing Xena, just as the emotional stakes get even higher for the warrior and her beloved bard. Fortunately
Xena: Warrior Princess #2
Vita Ayala (writer), Paulina Ganucheau, Emanuela Lupacchino, David Mack (covers), Ariana Maher (lettering), Rebecca Nalty (colors), Olympia Sweetnam and Vasil Georgiev (art)
May 8th, 2019
Vasil Georgiev joins Olympia Sweetnam in drawing Xena, just as the emotional stakes get even higher for the warrior and her beloved bard. Fortunately there’s not even a single dip in quality as we press forward and our favorite Amazonian tangles up with the gods once more.
When last we left the series, Xena had agreed to bargain with the goddess Discord; the lives of the children of Sideros would be spared in exchange for Xena doing Discord’s bidding. There are some limits to the agreement—she will not work as an assassin, harming innocents in the goddess’ name. Discord agrees to the deal—and sends Xena and Gabrielle off to stop a battalion of Roman soldiers who have been sacking nearby villages. Discord is miffed at the fact that they’ve destroyed one of her temples and are threatening to wreck another—she wants them scared off, pronto. But there’s one catch – most of the elders from the village must go with Xena to help.
Unfortunately, soon Strife appears, and he has a huge problem with Discord’s powergaming and wants a slice of the upcoming chaotic action. As the tension between the gods mount, Xena manages to interrogate a soldier before three hundred of his brethren descend upon them—it seems that they’re acting at the request of their own God, Deimos. She has a feeling there’s much more to the story, but with a battle on the horizon, there’s no time to do anything but try to survive.
My belief that Vita Ayala should write any and all future Xena books is cemented with this issue. Seriously, everything they’ve chosen to do with this book is so good; their writing combines hefty angst with gentle snark and spot-on humor, and character work that’s perfectly credible Everything about how they treat these characters is so good and so smart, and so well thought-out.
I really love this focus on Discord, who is incredibly funny and snarky and bratty. She’s a great foil for Gabs and Xena, who generally know how to outwit her but it’s not a walk in the park victory for them. We get some solid closure for our Siderosian elders, and Gabrielle and Xena continue along beautifully in this issue, still their combination of a caring people person and fearless, snarky warrior. Their relationship continues along beautifully.
And yes, y’all—there is a Xena and Gabrielle kiss! It happens, it’s adorable, and it’s part of a really great, slightly rueful conversation about how being the Gods’ playthings sucks. Vita Ayala is basically writing my ID here. I was ecstatic with the results.
Sweetnam’s art continues to be a beautiful highlight for the volume; the way they and Georgiev sketch out a battle scene is heart-stopping, dramatic and exciting. But smaller moments- like Gabrielle and Xena’s talk and a bit in which Gabrielle’s speaking to a village elder is contrasted with Xena sneaking up on that encampment of soldiers (see above) also pop. Paired with Ayala’s pitch-perfect writing, Nalty’s careful color work and Maher’s creative lettering, they’re an unbeatable team.
There isn’t any higher compliment I can play Xena: Warrior Princess #2, than saying it’s one of the most vital reads of the summer and still the best Xena comic yet.