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Lady Death: A Medieval Tale #7

Posted: Friday, September 12, 2003
By: Olivia Woodward



Writer: Brian Pulido
Artists: Fabrizio Fiorentino (p), Ted Pertzborn (i)

Publisher: CrossGen

Synopsis:
The battle against the Eldritch marauders has been won, but the village of Novgorod is littered with corpses and its buildings burn in the darkness before dawn. All is not well, but, for Lady Death, a pause in hardships has been reached. She no longer has a need for revenge against her mother's murderer. The Eldritch have been driven off. The ecclesiastical hunters that have been pursuing her have come to see her as a hero, not as a demon spawn monstrosity. She has been reunited with her mother's relatives.

This issue feels like a pause or transition. The story elements that have been driving this series have been resolved, so the gears change. Although new plot seeds are introduced, not much significant action occurs. A new Bishop comes to "deal" with the Eldritch "problem" of the region. Schemes are underway in the mystical land of Aglarond. Hate leads to nocturnal intrigues. All the while, Lady Death rests among her newfound family, clueless to the evil that encircles her.

Critique:
For the past six issues, we've had numerous plotlines pileup, eventually finishing in a big train-wreck of hurried action. From dealing with her Eldritch father to escaping the clutches of the corrupt Archbishop von Krakhauer, Lady Death has been through more action than the average series gets in a year. This is not necessarily a good thing, since none of these storylines got developed to their full dramatic potential.

Action stories are like firework displays. They need a steady display of escalating spectacle. Just as you wouldn't get a sense of entertainment from a muddled flurry of pyrotechnics, so too does a cluttered chronicle disappoint the reader. Individually, each piece is wonderful, but, when jumbled together, they lose their potency in an indistinct blur.

Now we've got a host of new issues to explore. They have great promise. Hopefully, Pulido will allow the narrative to linger enough so that each storyline will get explored in fullness. These characters need to breathe. They can't just leap from one wild activity to another, while retaining a sense of personality and accomplishment. This issue is a welcome pause. I'm hoping that the upcoming issues will allow the readers to actually savor the stories that are initiated here.

The art in this issue is solid. The locales are visually interesting, with an engaging attention to detail. Faces and stances are well articulated and expressive. The action flows smoothly and with high drama. The colors are dramatically appropriate in establishing the mood of the story.

Lady Death fans will enjoy the art from one scene where she rushes into a burning church to save some nuns. Is it cliché, cheesy, and overwrought? Yes, but she sure looks good! Kudos go to the artists for delivering a "Lady Death Moment," as she strolls calmly, hand on sword, amidst the mayhem.

Appraisal:
This issue is fun, but not very gripping. It's a pause between story arcs. Things are resolved; things are initiated. It's an average quality story for Lady Death fans, but it might not appeal to many readers.



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