Xena: Warrior Princess #4
Vita Ayala (writer), Paulina Ganucheau, David Mack, Rachel Stott (covers), Ariana Maher (lettering), Rebecca Nalty (colors), Jordi Pérez (art)
July 10, 2019
Oh, Dynamite’s Xena: have I told you lately that I love you? My affaire de cœur with the series continues with Xena: Warrior Princess #4, and here’s why you need to keep turning its pages.
When last we left our heroines, Xena, Gabrielle, and Discord had been banished to the Russian Taiga by a priest furious that Discord had double-crossed him. Now stuck in the snow-covered wilderness with their capybara pal, the threesome must navigate their way to civilization. That’s going to be hard to do especially now that Gabrielle is sick, but Discord manages to find a house situated in the middle of the woods inhabited by a kindly older woman. While her sudden appearance is a little suspicious to Xena and Discord, they’re glad for the shelter and free food. It turns out that they’ve been called to the cabin by its owner because she—a powerful healer—is in danger, her lifelong work mistrusted as witchery by the locals. Will Gabrielle get better, and will they be able to mend their benefactress’ reputation? Yep, but not without a lot of butt-kicking along the way!
Y’all, have you ever read a comic series so good you legitimately teared up because a nice elderly god’s herbcraft was about to be lost to the centuries because people’s belief in her died off and been corrupted through the generations? Because that’s where this comic took me this month. Crafted beautifully with humor, toughness and a lot of wit, Xena continues to be so good at character drama and action. But most importantly, the Xena/Gabby relationship continues apace and stays cute in this issue.
Folks who love Gabby whump or enjoys Xena ministering to her sick girlfriend are going to get a lot of joy out of this issue. But if you’re not solely here for the Xena/Gabby romance, you’ll have plenty of other treats in store for you. Watching Xena, Gabrielle, and Discord combine their talents to help our goddess regain her mythical power is inspired. Storytelling ultimately saves the day here. (Well, and Xena’s deadly grip. And Discord’s guile. And some sharp giant capybara teeth.)
Everyone gets a little bit of character development this issue. Gabrielle has to learn to lean on Xena a bit, and Xena has to actually listen to Discord to figure out how to help our goddess of the issue. Meanwhile, Discord might have (gasp!) a softer side to her; she’s starting to round out into a sort-of-God who might actually care a little about those around her. But after all, as the goddess tells her, it’s time to adapt or die.
Our mysterious goddess is terribly sympathetic, and her problem well solved and contained within the issue. As always, Vita Ayala’s writing shines and stays a stand-out. Quality-wise, the art is delightful in this issue; Pérez’ more cartoony style adapts well to the serious-minded but more fairytale story. I have to give a special nod to Maher’s lettering once again; she knows how to capture the tone and flavor of Xena’s journey via text.
In short: if you aren’t reading Xena: Warrior Princess, you’re definitely missing out on a great adventure!