Month of Women in Comics - Of Stars and Swords #0-4

All this month I'll be reviewing different comic books by female creators, based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. Here's a list of all the books featured so far this month.

We continue with Of Stars and Swords #0-4 by Graham and Caroline Johnson.

Of Stars and Swords is a fascinating and densely-plotted fantasy comic book in the mold of A Song of Ice and Fire. Just the #0 issue alone, which is mostly designed to introduce us to the protagonist of the story, Seren (her name translates to "Star," hence the title), is packed to the brim with plot developments.

Then we get to the "main" narrative, which is about a group of rebels trying to fight against a power-mad lord. They value Seren for her fighting skills, but at her heart, she's still an impetuous teenager. Check out the contrast of the other characters' careful plotting with her headstrong idea to say, "Hey, let me just go chop off the head of the head of the enemy forces. That'll solve everything, right?"

The artwork by Johnson and Johnson is heavy on characterization, which is important, because with such a wide, sweeping cast of characters and an epic story, you have to make sure that we know and can identify the various characters at hand quickly and effectively and they do so well.

Seren, meanwhile, is a well-crafted lead. Her approach to pretty much everything is "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" and what I really have enjoyed about the story so far is the casual cracks in her approach as she slowly comes to realize that there is something to be said for being responsible for the repercussions of your actions. It takes a lot for her to trust and/or care about others, but her companions are slowly getting her to that point.

It is also impressive to me how the Johnsons manage to pack just SO much plot into each issue. We're only up to issue #5 but it feels like the story has been going on for years and years, all because SO much happens, but it is all very well-thought out and detailed.

If you're even slightly a fan of A Story of Fire and Ice (and you like comic books, of course), then I think you'll get a blast out of Of Stars and Swords. Check out the comic at their website here.

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