SHE SAID DESTROY #1
Writer: Joe Corallo
Artist: Liana Kangas
Colorist: Rebecca Nalty
Letterer: Melanie Ujimori
Publisher: Vault Comics
This comic started to appear over the internet shortly after the first publication. I think everyone, especially me, were charmed by the beautiful cover: an homage to the unavoidable SAGA. For those of you who don’t know, it is a pretty good reproduction of the original cover of SAGA #8.
Published by VAULT, an indie comics publisher that I, shamefully, never heard of before (but will fix it immediately). This first number of a new series written by JOE CORALLO introduced us to the a rather feminist and impressive universe.
You’ll be happy to know that right from the opening of this number, we stumbled upon a universe full of strong female characters in a war-zoned environment that Vault described as: “The Wicked + The Divine meets Star Wars, by way of Final Fantasy.” I mean…. Yeah okay I’m down for that!
The story starts with an omniscient narrator explaining how the world was in the beginning of times. This narrator talks under ‘’we’’ and ‘’us’’ pronouns, telling the reader it is or was an important character to the story (just want to point out that it is actually how SAGA began too). A long time ago, there were lots of different gods who were slowly forgotten and as quoted: ‘’once a god is forgotten, they can never return’’.
We are introduced to Brigid – goddess of the sun, a traitor who is far from being forgotten. She won over the domination of the galaxy by force with the help of her armies to extinguish different cultures and populations through annihilation.
There is only a small nation left believing in the power of another strong goddess: The Witches of Fey, believing in the strength of Brigid’s sister: the Morrigan, goddess of death, also the omniscient narrator.
While explaining this bigger dimension to the story, we also follow the path of Winona, a young woman presented as a witch and the designated one to save the world – although it is never said out loud, she is mostly described as ‘’The Fairy Princess’’. She is accompanied by a character named Raul, a close friend who’s not as good a fighter as Winona. He (maybe She? I’m not sure to be honest, I think it could go both ways and I appreciate that) is often depicted as annoyed or even jealous by Winona’s famous destiny.
It is, again, not clearly written, but I already feel like Raul will be an important character to the story, perhaps an ally or someone with secret power yet to be discovered.
While Brigid ship is slowly approaching the planet to engage in a war and destroy the last resisting nation, The Witches of Fey are getting ready to fight. But with a limited number of soldiers, they have to seek wisdom to their beloved goddess by sending the promised one, Winona, to go get the help they need directly at the source.
This first number ends with Winona summoning the Morrigan, asking her what they should do to end the war against Brigid’s armies, to which the Morrigan appeared saying: ‘’Destroy’’.
Get it? She said destroy. How clever!
So obviously I can see why it was described as a mix between STAR WARS and THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, but I would maybe change the statement a bit: a space opera (a genre created by STAR WARS, yes) navigating in similar waters than SAGA with the colors and magical essence of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE.
The strength of this first number for me was how they established the universe and the characters without spreading out every single detail. I’m not a fan of super long introduction nor when I feel like it’s missing essential elements: I want a perfect balance between time and content and that’s something I can find in this first number. There is still some stuff left to be discovered you have a pretty good idea of the universe you are diving in.
I liked how they were able to establish most of the characters with the story telling: it was an excellent use of an omniscient narrator with a nice revealed near the end. I can see the SAGA inspiration through the story, especially with the space fantasy genre and the two clans battling against each other. But don’t get me wrong ‘’Inspiration’’ should be taken lightly: it is still an original and independent story alone.
Speaking of characters, I liked how you’re not really sure of who the bad guy is precisely. Sure, Brigid is obviously not a kind one, but is The Goddess of Death really a nice person either? And in the middle of that, there’s Raul an obviously jealous and emotional character who can easily switch sides and change the interaction with the general plot as well. I think there’s some potential to the story that can develop well.
Now, I am not gonna lie and I'm sure you know where I’m going with that: my favorite part of this series is definitely the art. I adore every detail of it, from the sketches to the colors, everything is incredibly sublime. The pastel colors are giving a true out-of-this-world vibe and make me feel like I’m in another magical dimension. The space illustrations make me feel like I’m in a jar of ice cream on a sugar high and I LOVE it.
There is something magical with the pinks and blue tones that really helps to bring the story to life. And when I think about it now, it is kind of ironic, that a war/space opera story would be represented with such a color palette, something I find quite pleasant and different.
Of course, as a first number there are still some flaws left to be evened out (but really, what new series started out perfectly?). After my first read I was hypnotized by the art while the story left me with a disappointing taste in my mouth: meh?
After my second read, I was even more hypnotized with the story and took the time to decorticate and absorb the information that was put into it. Like I said, we are simultaneously reading about world building and character introduction, something that can be a little overwhelming. If you take the time to analyse it, you have a nice universe unfolding in front of your eyes….
And who could really say no to a good women empowerment story? Not me, I can guarantee it!
This team definitely has a unique take on the fantasy-space war story, and I am more than curious to follow them through their work. Issue 1 and 2 are already on the shelves and #3 is following on July 31st.