As Long As I Don’t Wear Tights or Spandex, Issue 4 — THE SWORD

16 Sep

Stewart here…

THE SWORD by The Luna Brothers (Image Comics/collected)

The quest of Dara Brighton in Joshua and Jonathan Luna’s The Sword is at its base a simple one: a wronged heroine seeking vengeance against those who wronged her.  Dara’s a paraplegic college student who is having an ordinary family dinner when three strangers come visiting, claiming her father has a sword they want.  Things end badly with the whole family being slaughtered with unnatural powers, and Dara barely escaping the same fate, only to discover hidden under her house…a sword.  But like her assailants, this is no ordinary sword, evidenced as its somehow able to heal its user of severe injury (like say, making Dara able to walk again).

From there, with the help of her best friend Julie and Justin (a student of her father’s college class), she sets out to kill the trio who slaughtered her family, who each have immense elemental powers (earth, water, air).  Along the way, she has to deal with everything from the reveals about her father and the three strangers (Zakros, Knossos, Malia), other obstacles like the government, and finally the physical toll that is taken from using a sword that can heal all your injuries.  And Dara takes some serious pain throughout the series run, some of which is pretty grisly for anyone to suffer and recover from.  And some, without the sword, would be life ending (its credit to the Lunas that each of these injuries are not just throwaway things that happen in the story).

One of the things I appreciate about The Sword is that unlike many mainstream comics with female protagonists, you have a woman who doesn’t feel or dress like a sex object.  Dara is a normal person whose encounter with these otherworldly elements have affected her, and her dealing with that loss through the death of those responsible is very dramatic.  Not to say the villains are one-dimensional, as the complexity of their relationships to one another is revealed, is the opposite of normal.  Yes, this is a revenge story, but one whose details make for some compelling reading.

The other thing to note is the Luna Brothers usage of art, which is very clear and concise.  You don’t feel a detail is wasted in their pages, even when Dara and others suffer unbelievably gory actions.  This is a good thing, especially when the story becomes larger in scope as Dara’s fights get more and more unavoidable to the world at large.

It’s a credit that the story ends the way it does in a final and definitive way, rather than stretch it out infinitum.  Dara’s quest ends on the right note of melancholy and tragedy, in which even our heroine has to face the consequences of her actions.  The comic is about twenty fours issues long, collected in four trade paperbacks, and recently in an oversized hardcover.  Worth checking out if you’re into woman-centric comics whose lead isn’t in tights or spandex.

NEXT ISSUE: We take a slight detour into the world of superheroes with a former superhero turned cop dealing with superpowered crime in Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming’s POWERS!  As always, if you got any suggestions for future installments or want to talk about this installment, feel free to comment below.

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