In last month’s issue #0, high schooler Amy Winston discovered that her mother had been… let’s say, keeping things from her. The pair teleported from Earth to the magical realm of Nilaa (Gemworld). Her mother, Gracie, is really Lady Graciel of the House of Amethyst, currently ruled by Amy’s villainous aunt, Lady Mordiel. Amy isn’t even Amy, she discovers. She’s Princess Amaya.
At the end of issue #0, Amy and her mother found themselves besieged by a small army of attackers. Luckily, Graciel is assisted by the warriors of the house of Citrine, a “minor house.” Notably, this issue, Amy is saved by the expert archery skills of Princess Ingvie, although Amy shows some pretty adept combat skills herself, having been secretly training her entire life. Lady Graciel must harness the powers of the House of Amethyst to defeat the enemy army, but at what cost?
There is a brief interlude introducing the House of Diamond, which seems to be marked by duplicity. Lady Mordiel armors up and ventures out to the battle field which is now empty, but she finds a message crystal.
Ingvie, on the way to the Citrine stronghold, clarifies that her mother, Senshe remains faithful to Graciel, but laments that her mother is a strict traditionalist. She states that when when Amaya and Graciel were arguing, it reminded her of her own fights with her mother who wants her to become an archivist, when Ingvie really wants to be an archer. Amaya tells her she’s a great archer and not to let anyone tell her what to do. (Awwwww! BFFs!)
Mordiel views the message in the crystal and gets confirmation of the presence of her niece on Gemworld.
In the backup feature, Beowulf and Wiglaf stop at an inn and are acosted. Beowulf snaps back into unstopable killer mode until Wiglaf begs him to stop… which Beowulf mistakes for him trying to give him orders. Once again, Wiglaf manages to talk himself out of certain death. They depart and encounter Iron Trolls… old Waynetech mechas that still “patrol” the area. (Nice touch!) Finally, they reach their destination and a feast is thrown in order to lure out the Grendel. That may not work out how they planned, though.
The artwork on both features is gorgeous. Amethyst is colorful and beautiful, while Beowulf is dark and muted, making them a nice compliment to one another. Two gorgeously drawns stories for the price of one! What a deal!
The tones of the stories are also quite different. Amethyst is bright and fun, with a youthful protagonist. Beowulf is violent and dark, starring a powerful killing machine that brings to mind characters like Wolverine. They’re both very good, but whereas the art balances out, I’m not sure if the stories do, or if they are jarring. For me, I like them, but I’m not sure that both will work out for all readers.
Beowulf is great, but the star is Amethyst and her story is coming together quite nicely. Amy was a bit surly in the zero issue, but she’s perking up and proving to be an engaging character. Her natural combat skill also make her pretty kickass, but she is mentally unprepared for all of this. When she kills a foe in combat, the look on her face is absolutely priceless! Once again, compliments to Aaron Lopresti’s amazing art.
There is really nothing I dislike about this book! The art is so beautiful on both features. Both are very well-written and intriguing. Like I said, it’s two great, beautiful stories for the price of one. I highly recommend this book!
SWORD OF SORCERY #1
Amethyst: Written by Christy Marx
Art and Cover by Aaron Lopresti
Beowulf: Written by Tony Bedard
Art by Jesus Saiz