Comic Review: Amala’s Blade: Spirits of Naamaron

Amala’s Blade: Spirits of Naamaron
Written by Steve Horton
Illustrated by Michael Dialynas
Colored by Michael Dialynas
Lettered by Steve Horton
Cover by Michael Dialynas
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 4, 2014
Cover Price: $18.99

Back in May of 2013, I had the privilege to review issue number two of Steve Horton and Michael Dialynas’ Amala’s Blade. I am thrilled to have now been able to review the trade paperback, Amala’s Blade: Spirits of Naamaron. Read on for my thoughts on the collection as a whole.

Due to moral ambiguity and clashing ideologies, the kingdom of Naamaron is divided. The nation of the Purifiers — a people who live simplistic lives and are reliant on the power of steam — and the Modifier nation — those who worship technology and “modify” their bodies based on new advancements — are constantly on the verge of war. Caught in the middle is the world’s great assassin, Amala, a child runaway trained to be a ruthless killer. Now an adult, Amala is plagued by literal ghosts from her past, including her dead father who insists that her destiny could mean the end of the ongoing war and an indefinite time of peace.

Amala’s Blade: Spirits of Naamaron is a great book. Horton develops a marvelous cast with characterization at the heart of the story. The tone of the trade is dark with expertly placed lighthearted moments.

Dialynas provides two well-defined warring factions as well as the world they inhabit. His cartoony illustrative style mixes seamlessly with violent, bloody action enhancing the story’s grim resonance.

The extra bits at the end of Amala’s Blade: Spirits of Naamaron are entertaining and well worth a look. The creators include early sketches of some of their characters, particularly Amala, with descriptions for each. They also offer the full, original 8-page pitch that they had made to Dark Horse Comics, which is a really fascinating read — especially to see how different it is from the current story.

Horton tweeted recently that there would be a major announcement coming regarding Amala’s Blade. Considering the fact that the trade is already scheduled to come out, I am sincerely hoping that there are more adventures for Amala in the works at Dark Horse. This is one series that deserves further development. In the meantime, pick up a copy of Amala’s Blade: Spirits of Naamaron this week, you won’t regret it!

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