November's surprise highlight: Daughters of the Dragon
Daughters of the Dragon #1 by Jed Mackay is a narrative delight that’s brilliantly drawn and inked by Travel Foreman. The book begins with the butt-kicking, samurai-text quoting Colleen Wing calling Misty Knight while fighting off killer robots. The opening pages are part Kill Bill, part Ghost in the Shell, and all awesome as they set the tone for the series and establish both her samurai prowess and amusing relationship with Misty. The fact that is has panels like the above only highlight the thrill.
The story (Bunraku Part 1 & 2) itself is told well enough that I didn’t mind the lack of character development. I simply enjoyed the narrative twists and turns as these two non-super-powered women-warriors pulled on a thread until they reached the end and dealt justice to the villain.
The art is where the book really shines. Consider the following three exemplary pieces. The first is the meeting between Colleen Wing and Robert Lime. Without any dialogue needed, this panel perfectly captures the ancient essences of the two characters in what could easily be a 16th century Japanese woodblock print. Everything about it is brilliant.
The second comes from an entire section of the book where Colleen is trying to shake off the effects of hallucination inducing poison. It perfectly captures the essence of Misty’s character through Colleen’s drug-addled vision. It’s a startling visual shift from the rest of the book and demonstrates Travel’s breadth of skill as an artist.
Finally, I sincerely appreciate this book’s ability to be quiet. Consider the power of this final piece from a car chase later in the issue, demonstrated through the clever use of panels:
Daughters of the Dragon captures everything I love about comics and does so with a great story, fantastic (not overpowered) characters, and so many brilliant art decisions that I can’t recommend it enough. For me it’s November’s highlight and I can’t wait to see what comes next for Colleen and Misty.