By Jeremy Whitley
May 19, 2013 - 1:51
For the third month in a row, Dark Horse has delivered to my hands a fantastic comic from the pens of Steve Horton and Michael Dialynas. Starting with the zero issue right up to this month's issue two, this team has provided a consistently beautiful and violent narrative of a girl and her sword.
First off, if you haven't read issues zero and one, you're missing out tremendously and you should stop reading and go track them down. If you have, you already know that Amala's Blade is the tale of girl assassin Amala and her quest to...actually, just kill people and get paid. She's an assassin...like, for real. She's not in this for some noble greater good. She's in it for her own personal greater good. She kills people because she's good at it. And not in that hokey comic book girl assassin kind of way where she kills dudes by kissing them with her poison lipstick or somehow sexes them to death. No. At one point in this issue while climbing the side of a tower, Amala pushes herself off the side of the building and quickly dispatches two guards by shooting them in the jugular and the eye respectively using her mini-crossbow. Let me say that again for emphasis: while dangling a hundred or so feet off the ground from a rope she kicks off and shoots a dude in the eyeball with her crossbow!
And that's really what this issue is all about. Amala is on a mission to kill a very important target in the Purifier capitol city. She wears a disguise, uses a smokebomb, pulls out some ninja moves but she mostly just kills dudes. And you know what, I'm all right with that. Horton uses the time to bolster some of the subplots and give you a preview of the chaos that's about to break loose in issue three, but mostly he just lets you see Amala in action, something we've only seen briefly in previous chapters. And it's a lot of fun!
So much of that fun is the doing of Michael Dialynas. His art is scratchy in all the right ways and smooth in all the right places. Amala is not a particularly beautiful girl, but she looks like a real girl. A real girl who really wears clothes that are appropriate for dispatching some dudes and making some heads roll. Amala's not a sideshow. She's not a sex object. What she is is a cold blooded killer who happens to be a girl. And it today's comic world, that's pretty awesome. Her world is lovingly and beautifully rendered as well. The two sides of the war are so remarkably and clearly different without it being so drastic that the frame starts showing. Dialynas' style and skill are the breath of fresh air the mainstream comics could really use.
That's the thing with Amala's Blade. There are so many good books out there that are good for what they are. Books that you wouldn't want to see others attempt to ape. Amala's Blade, however, is a striking example of what more comics need to read like, what more comics need to look like, and what more comics need to be like. It effortlessly gets things right that entire companies try to justify their failures at. When they're not too busy planning thier next twenty part crossover, some people need to stop talking about what comics can't do and read Amala's Blade. Because it proves them wrong.
Rating: 10 /10