Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Dennis Culver
Artist: Justin Greenwood
Colourist: Brad Simpson
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Release Date: 6th November 2019
Bloody Bliss and her band of wandering heroes carved their names in legend, bringing peace and justice to the Three Kingdoms, fighting their way to the Broken Keep and defeating the evil warlord D’Kayed. Decades later, Corinne and her father set off into the mountains seek out the legend in the hope that she can save them from the same nightmare she once slew.
This is a sword and sorcery tale that has many of the tropes that we all recognise, but with an interesting twist. This is the story of a hero that has already proved everything she needs to, whose legend is already written, who has sought isolation in the mountains waiting for death, to claim her, if it dares, if it can.
While I like the angle that this is a hero coming out of retirement to battle a foe thought long vanquished and to possibly train the next generation of heroes, it’s not really new and it’s not anything we haven’t seen before, which is what worries me about this series.
With the current resurgence of the Sword & Sorcery genre, Crone is nothing particularly special. There are other titles out there that have really grabbed the opportunity to do something different, to push the boundaries and give us something new but this is not one of those comics. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good first issue, and it looks like it will be a good series but it didn’t grab me like, for example, Sword Daughter, Wailing Blade, or Marvel’s recent Conan stories.
Justin Greenwood’s artwork is good throughout, although I would have liked to see a more epic scale to some of the scenes, especially the opening. Bliss and her band are supposed to be fighting insurmountable odds, it should have looked more like the battle of the Hornburg but comes across more like a minor skirmish. This is a point that the writing threw me as well, the Evil Overlord actually displays fear at the mention of her presence, which just doesn’t fit with the character I was expecting to see.
Am I being hypercritical? Well, perhaps. But with the pedigree that Dark Horse has earned over the years, I really would expect a more polished and far-sighted story than the one Culver and Greenwood have given us. I hope that I’m wrong and that this develops into a truly epic tale as the issues progress, and it may well be that this is a series best read in a collected format.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek