Following a successful first installment, Steve Horton and Michael Dialynas turn in another gem for Dark Horse Comics, with Amala’s Blade #2. Focusing on the remarkable world-building of Naamaron in both script and art, this issue shows Amala’s supremacy as a master assassin. Through a gripping depiction of fantastically illustrated violence, the second installment surpasses the level of quality produced in issue #1, and promises more greatness in the issues to follow.
WRITTEN BY: Steve Horton
ART BY: Michael Dialynas
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: May 29th, 2013
Picking up right where issue #1 left off, Part 2 pulls no punches as readers are thrust into a brief flashback teasing Amala’s origins. The issue then jumps to the present narrative which follows the assassin on her suicide mission to kill a Purifier noblewoman named Lady Strawbale. Unfortunately, the bounty on her head is making the journey an arduous one. Amala is able to enlist possessive help from her spirit companions, leaving a pile of ravaged and dismembered corpses in her wake—and making for an awesome carnage-heavy panel-piece by Dialynas.
Horton moves the story along by expanding on the Naamaron universe he’s building, and giving his readers a more in-depth look at the Purifier vs. Modifier culture. As it’s already been established from last month’s issue, Naamaron is a land divided by twenty years of civil war between the two warring factions. The low-tech Purifiers, powered by steam, are on the West, while the high-tech Modifiers, worshippers of technology, are to the East. Traditional steampunk and Biopunk aspects are extensively featured throughout most of the issue, and are brought to life by Dialynas’ colours and creative renderings of Horton’s world.
By the end of the issue, readers become closely acquainted with two clashing capital cities on either side of the divide. We also meet the respective spiritual leaders of both: Lady Strawbale of Ouon and the Prince of the Modifier capital, Avatouon. While the status of their relationship is being revealed, Dialynas expertly illustrates Amala’s sneak attack and infiltration of the Purifier Palace. The precision in how she successfully scales the palace walls and takes out the palace guards is perfectly executed by Dialynas’ knack for authentically capturing the fluidity of her movements.
The last few pages are probably the most intense in terms of dramatically paced action scenes, narrative progression, and reader speculation regarding Lady Strawbale’s true identity. With only two more issues left, it’s hard to see where Horton is going to take the series, especially considering the fact that Amala’s target is the answer to bringing peace to Naamaron. So much seems to be going on, and there are still many questions that remain unanswered, but if the first two installments are any indication, the last two will surely deliver. Here’s hoping both Horton and Dialynas have more in store for Amala beyond this Dark Horse mini.
Reviewed by – ShadowJayd