Filled with flashes between past and present, Crone #1 follows the tale of the legendary swordswoman Bloody Bliss, now battling old age and living alone on a mountain. Longing for the end, Bliss is soon stunned to learn that her lifelong mission of vengeance is not as over as she imagined.
Though the art of Crone is immediately arresting, with strong lines and bright colors, the first few pages of the issue did not bely the true potential of this story. However, as I continued to read beyond the initial fare of bloody battles and leather bikini-clad heroines, I soon found myself enjoying what Crone #1 had to offer. Few stories tell the tales of heroines passed what is considered to be their peak physical condition (and beauty), but Crone #1 immediately puts to rest the idea that heroine Bliss is anything but competent even in her old age.
The writing itself is fairly standard sword and sorcery fare. It’s definitely enjoyable, largely due to a subtle sense of self-awareness to it. It never verges into comedic self-awareness and, given the context of the story, this is appropriate. However, despite the clear intentionality of the writing, the many obvious influences and uses of genre-savvy shorthand from other sword and sorcery comics bog down the first issue and make it difficult to distinguish from many other staples of the genre (particularly Red Sonja).
The ending shot of this premier issue intrigues me, giving me hope for future issues; but I’m not sure that this ending panel and the uniqueness of having an older heroine is enough to save the overarching narrative of Crone from falling into the trap of relying too much on prior sword and sorcery comics as influences. With only a few factors to distinguish it from predecessors, Crone has a lot of work to do to make their story unique. I believe strongly that it has this potential, but future issues will tell. If you’re a fan of classic sword and sorcery, it is highly likely that this will be to your liking.
Crone #1 (Culver, Greenwood, Simpson, Brosseau) has a lot of potential, but it relies greatly on tropes and imagery from other staples of the sword and sorcery genre. Time will tell if this story escapes blending in too much with its predecessors.
Crone #1: Of Unfinished Business and Untapped Potential
Writing - 7/107/10
Storyline - 6.5/106.5/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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