As we learn more about the past of Bloody Bliss, we begin to understand what motivates her. She finally agrees to go investigate the claims that her mortal enemy is alive, but is Bliss still up to the task of battle?
Crone #2 picks up where we left off with issue #1: Gaspar trying desperately to convince Bloody Bliss to take her sword back up and fight the monstrous D’Kayde, a man she thought she killed decades ago. We learn more of Bliss’s past, particularly her relationship with her partner Lena, and how Bliss’s mission of vengeance destroyed their relationship. There is a slight twist when it is revealed that Lena is not buried under the cross in the yard; rather she left Bliss years ago after tiring of being Bliss’s second priority. Eventually, Bliss agrees to follow Gasper and his daughter into battle against the forces of evil once more. The issue ends on a cliffhanger with Bliss’s sword broken and the enemy pressing down.
Despite having an incredibly interesting premise and great artwork, however, something about Crone falls flat for me. Upon reflection, I believe it to be the dialogue. High fantasy dialogue, so often present in sword and sorcery fare, is a difficult thing to get right. Too much flourish and it becomes unreadable. Too little, and it reads as modern. Crone falls far more into the first camp than the latter. It reads so similarly to other, more established books and comics that it becomes difficult to distinguish. This is disappointing as the premise of an older, lesbian (or bisexual) heroine is so unique! I cannot fault Culver for the effort he puts forth though, and it is entirely possible that the dislike of the dialogue style is entirely personal to me. I will give credit to the fact that this issue is more tongue-in-cheek when appropriate, which was a problem I had with the first issue.
The backstory given to Bliss is fantastic conceptually, but the execution falls a touch flat. Something about the backstory as told in exposition as opposed to being revealed over time doesn’t quite sit well with me, though I cannot find fault with the content of the backstory itself. While I have a nagging feeling that we will see Lena again, I also get the sinking feeling that we will not like it when we do.
The art remains well executed, though as with my first review, the content of the art is so very derivative of other sword and sorcery comics as to blend in with them. It isn’t bad, by any means, to pay homage to other staples of the genre, but my fear is that asides from Bliss’s intersections of identity, very little will ultimately distinguish Crone from say, Red Sonja. However, I do have sincere hopes for this book, as I think the story is conceptually wonderful, and the art is definitely good enough to stand out if given a little push.
While the dive into Bliss’s past is intriguing, Crone #2 (Culver, Greenwood, Simpson, Brousseau) doesn’t quite hit the right notes for a strong continuation of the series.
Crone #2: And I’m Getting Older Too
Writing - 6/10
Storyline - 7/10
Art - 7/10
Color - 7/10
Cover Art - 8/10
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