by Joshua Luna (writer and letters) and Jonathan Luna (art)

The Story: Dara vs Knossos – Round 2.

The Good: As I expected, this is an issue that’s packed with lots of action.  What I especially liked with the action here is how the Luna Brothers gave a great sense of the collateral damage and the wide effects of the battle between Dara and Knossos; in what is a personal duel between two people comes to be a natural disaster that spreads across Mexico and Texas.  It’s an interesting idea, as it causes us to again ponder the relationship of gods and men.  Due to its magical nature, Dara’s private conflict unleashes an ever widening ripple effect, here, turning into a media event and nation-wide catastrophe.

Readers of the Sword know that Dara’s flashbacks are often some of the best written parts of the comic, and this issue is no different.  The hardships Dara faced as an ordinary girl again come to be relatable to her struggles in her new “superheroic” life.  The flashback here is, like most Luna flashbacks, apt, emotionally poignant, and tied to her battle with Knossos in a very smart fashion.  In fact, it may very well be my favorite flashback yet.

The issue’s conclusion was also a jaw-dropper as it definitely made me incredibly anxious for next month’s issue.  It’s a very subtle twist that could quite possibly change the route of the rest of the series.  While a surprise, more than anything else, it’s intriguing.  Certainly, it’s the first time we’ve seen Dara get any real, supernatural assistance and considering the ancient history of the sword, the source of that assistance is interesting to say the least.

Lastly, the artwork here is especially good.  The Sword’s art is consistently at a high level, especially with the distinctive style that the Lunas bring.  This issue’s art is especially stunning, featuring drool-inspiring images of awe-inspiring combat.  The sheer size of what’s being depicted here is praiseworthy enough.

What’s Not-so-Good: As is the case with all action-based issues, this is a quick read. Given the tantalizing ending, this can be a bit frustrating. Then again, there’s nothing wrong with wanting more of a good thing, is there?

Also, again due to that all out action, readers should be aware that outside of two one-page flashbacks and another single page of frantic media reports, there really is pretty much zero dialogue in this issue.  This banter-less action also comes due to Knossos turning into a giant stone man, which while awe-inspiring, comes at the cost of the back-and-forth that made the battle with Zakros so entertaining.

Moreover, the lack of dialogue will also have fans of Justin’s sardonic humor disappointed, as he he is silent in this issue, only appearing in the issue’s first panel.

Conclusion: A quiet issue, but explosive in terms of action, this is another solid issue of the Sword. Frankly, I don’t think there’s ever been a bad or disappointing issue of the Sword.  Stunning art, awesome combat, and a really cool ending make this a comic that will definitely please the Luna-devoted.

Grade: B

-Alex Evans