Reviews

Review – Sword of Ages #2 (IDW Publishing)

Sword of Ages #2 Ignites the Fight

The first of issue of Gabriel Rodriguez’s new project, Sword of Ages, was a blast. Rodriguez, as both writer and illustrator, did a phenomenal job with reimagining the Arthurian legend of Excalibur. In the previous issue, Avalon—now a girl instead of an island—left her saber-toothed family to seek the White Monks’ Citadel with a blue-skinned Merlin. After rescuing some slaves from some ape-like goonies, Avalon met with three other warriors anxious to test their skills. In Sword of Ages #2, Avalon and her companions enter the Sacred Temple to prove their worth. Meanwhile, the Black Star Templars and White Monks struggle over the fate of Caledia.

Writing

Gabriel Rodriguez, best known as the co-creator of Locke & Key, seems to have found his niche. Moving through comic book circles primarily as an artist, Rodriguez took up the sword for Sword of Ages. But as they say, the pen is mightier than the sword, and Rodriguez’s new project sure is mighty. By managing a large cast of characters’ voices and faces, this Chilean illustrator (and writer) has earned my full respect.

Sword of Ages #2 is packed full of action and dialogue. The characters interact well with one anothereach with their own, individual voice. The personalities of the characters are distinct and well-balanced. However, with so many characters, it was a little difficult for me to remember names. Fortunately, issue #1 provides character designs (names included) at the end of the book. Thanks for the reference material, IDW.

Sword of Ages #2 Variant CoverI am impressed with Rodriguez’s ability to write a dynamic range of characters. Sure, most of the characters are facets of common archetypes, but he manipulates these tropes to his advantage. As a fiction writer myself, I understand the comfort of familiarity and appreciate Rodriguez’s subtle twists.

The storyline of Sword of Ages #2 is just as good as the cast. This issue continues from where we left off in November, forgoing any time-skips. Avalon began her journey in the first issue and hits her first big obstacle in the second. Meanwhile, new characters and plots take flight. We already had the feeling Caledia was in trouble, but Rodriguez doesn’t waste time ramping up the tension between the White Monks and Black Star Templars. This really is a battle between good and evil.

I am anxious to see Avalon’s place in all this. With the main protagonist bearing a name of such magnitude, I doubt her role will be small. And with her fantastic feat this issue, I’m sure we can expect great things from this badass lady.

Art

Sword of Ages #2 feels more like an animated film rather than a comic. With so many characters, lines, and colors, the movement and visual interest sucked me in. Rodriguez illustrates his story well, providing dynamic imagery for a dynamic story. My only qualm is with the characters’ faces. Don’t get me wrongthey are drawn well, but often with very little emotional range. I’d like to see more than slightly-parted mouths and restful eyes. Sure, the fights exhibit more emotion, but the characters could be more emotive during conversation.

Lovern Kindzierski dominates color in this issue. He employs an energetic color palette, creating panels and pages that either ignite or defuse. I am particularly fond of the scenes involving the White Monks or Guardians. Kindzierski’s use of blues and greens makes me want to take a dip in the Sacred Lake. I only wish he had used more than just a few browns and siennas during Avalon’s quest in the cave.

Overall

Sword of Ages #2 is exactly what I wanted. The first issue was a pleasant introduction to the series, but I expect this offworld Excalibur story to be magnetic—and it is. The various characters and plots in this issue kept me glued to the pages. I can’t wait to see what happens to our new friends, the White Monks. Will Avalon come to their rescue? Will trial end in error? Sadly, we have to wait until next month to find out. Meanwhile, I’ll keep an eye on Rodriguez’s Tumblr page for raw, fresh Sword of Ages artwork.

Did Sword of Ages #2 impress or depress? Let us know in the comments!


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About the author

Anastasia Dotzauer

Anastasia is the Senior Editor at WotN. She enjoys losing herself in the fantastical worlds of literature, graphic novels, and television. Though reading and writing are her primary passions, art and photography tie as a close second. Her favorite fandoms are Game of Thrones, Green Lantern, Harry Potter, and Star Trek.