Publisher: Broken Icon Comics
Written and created by: Damian Wampler
Illustrations by: Andre Siregar
Colors: Anang Setyawan
Letters: Steven Wands
Release Date: Both issues are currently available via Comixology.
This review was a bit of a tough one for me, as the comic is obviously a labour of love for its creative team, who brought the project into being with the help of Kickstarter. I’m very much in two minds about Sevara. There’s a lot about these first two issues that seem really promising. Immortal female hero, Check. Former slave-girl turned resistance leader, Check. A fight against a patriarchal evil that spans the aeons, Check. In theory it seems like a great time, but it just doesn’t work out that way on the page.
Things got a little murky at times and I think in general the movement between the two plot-lines could be better handled. We’re given a much richer picture of the earlier, feudal time-period – which makes sense as these issues very much focus on Alathea’s transformation – but this means that the cuts to the future setting end up being just confusing. The dialogue gets saddled with carrying the brunt of the exposition and can end up being plain clunky as the result of this, e.g. ‘We have to build it by guiding others. You also have all my powers’. I think part of the issue is that Wampler is trying to squeeze too much of his narrative into the first two issues. It’s overly clear that he has big plans for Sevara, and is trying to cram in as much of his world and its logic as swiftly as possible, but this just dampens the effect of events which could otherwise be much more powerful.
Another issue for we was that while one one hand the series seems to be trying to develop its interesting and powerful female characters and their fight against a fiercely patriarchal society, this is constantly undermined throughout. Any mildly feminist sentiment that makes its way into Sevara finds itself wholly at odds with the cheesecake depictions of the characters. There is barely a page where Andre Sinegar doesn’t manage to contort our heroes into some sort of pained pose that facilitates liberal upskirt or sideboob. Which is deeply frustrating because aside from this bizarre predilection, the rest of the art is consistently professional and comes into its own during the action scenes.
It’s also really disconcerting to see the a reborn Sevara’s rapid transition – spanning a few pages – from infant back to fully sexualised woman, which is maybe due to the fact that this plot point isn’t really given enough time to run its course. Her preternatural maturation means that her rebirth isn’t given the time to really hit home, and seems more like an inconsequential hurdle to get past.
There were a couple of stronger moments, the doubling of the moments where Sevara comes of age is nicely handled and makes her first period a symbol of her strength, rather than anything shameful or embarrassing. I think the Sevara still has the potential to involve into something interesting, but there wasn’t enough in these first two issues to convince me to stick with it. If you’re a fantasy fan with a penchant for fast plotting and leopard-print-clad slave-girls then it’ll maybe float your boat, but ultimately it’s just not for me.
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The writer of this piece was: Kirsty Hunter
Kirsty Tweets from @kirstythehunter.