By Victoria Irwin
In the land of Naamaroon there are two types of people: Those who believe in the power of steam, the Purifiers, and those who hold tight to technology and implant it into their bodies, the Modifiers. Emerging from a 20 year civil war between the Purifiers and Modifiers, Amala takes up a blade for profit as an assassin. In addition to her skills as a mercenary, Amala also has the gift and curse of seeing ghosts. A small monkey is her most common vision; he comes in handy pointing out traps and the way out for her more often than not.
Amayla’s Blade opens with Amayla, an assassin for hire, listening intently to the patron of The Broken Gear Tavern as he tells the story of how he recently murdered the hand of the Vizier. As he ends his story, she cheerfully helps facilitate a bar fight and completes her mission by killing him amidst the ruckus. She heads home to train with her blacksmith Smitty and his attractive assistant, her love interest. Amala is summoned by the vizier for a mission with almost no chance of survival; she is left with no choice but to accept.
Steve Horton’s story work is intriguing. For a fan of both steam punk and Game of Thrones, I found myself intrigued by her work as an assassin and her ability to smooth talk her way into and out of situations. The technology is mostly gear and steam based, the Vizier’s girth and implants giving me pretty vivid memories of watching Dune as a child.
Michael Dialynas’s art work is well crafted, using coppers and browns as well as dark tinted blues to give the entire comic the feel of something bordering on modern, but still with a humanistic warmth. My only complaint is that Amala and her ghosts are almost too cutesy for the storyline. There are some pretty brutal moments including her slitting someone’s throat, but it’s almost too easy to skip right by it with her bright blue eyes and Dickensian paperboy look.
Fans of the Steampunk genre will enjoy this comic. I’m interested to continue Amala’s journey over the next 3 issues of this four part series.