"Amala's Blade" #0 by Steve Horton and Michael Dialynas is a fantastically well-executed tale of a female assassin pillaging through a techno-pirate-future world in order to execute Captain Cha'Kooh. The issue takes place on the one boat as Amala gets into a number of fights and tests her muscles, her blade, her sanity and her sense of cool -- all of which come through exceptionally well by issue's end.
Michael Dialynas is about to be your new favorite artist. His style is energetic and unique as he focuses his structure more on flow and action than on pretty pin up poses. His design for Amala instantly brings out the best in what this character is. She looks lithe and nimble and able to do anything she sets her mind to. With the perfect lead established, Dialynas then sets about peppering the landscape with a host of intriguing characters and costumes. The men Amala fights are each very uniquely amazing to look upon. This is a book that looks like a labor of love with an intricate design and life breathed through every page.
This #0 issue is an interesting introductory yarn that establishes the character, her world, her quest and opens up a future trail for her to blaze. There is more than enough here to excite readers about Amala and make them want to follow her. She is a kick ass female lead whose gender doesn't feel like a part of the concept of the book. She slices techno-pirates, carries a sword and just happens to be female. Amala isn't a gimmick, she's just an amazing action/adventure lead character who works effectively in this setting.
The world building in this issue is jam-packed and builds understanding as well as a desire to figure out more. There is little exposition as elements are simply brought together and through their interactions we can parse what is occurring. Steve Horton plays with his new toys confidently and Dialynas delivers them in every panel with expert care and precision. The world of "Amala's Blade" is something new and very exciting.
"Amala's Blade" #0 is an exceptional peek into a world fully in motion. Horton and Dialynas waste no time in packing as much fun and action into this book as they can. The foot goes down on the pedal and doesn't relent and yet everything remains crystal clear. The visual storytelling is professional and kinetic, Dialynas is a natural master at controlling panels. His fluid style of action makes this energetic story come to life in an entertaining and mesmerizing way. This issue's contents may have originally seen light in "Dark Horse Presents" but after people read this they will anxiously be awaiting the first proper issue of the series in April. This is female-led swashbuckling fun for the whole family.