"Clone Order Unleashed"
Writers: Dr. Ayman Kandeel (story), Todd Vincino(dialogue)
Artists: Allan Goldman(p), Cristiano Lopes(i), Cris Peter(c)
Publisher: AK Comics
Under a cover that looks like an Adam Hughs illustration or a flattering imitation, Aya: Princess of Darkness debuts in America. One of four Mid-Eastern super-heroes, Aya is the detective of the group, and her setup is somewhat reminiscent of Alias, had Sydney Bristow donned cape and cowl rather than become a super-spy. Aya pursues the law as a student by day and seeks justice by night, often under the orders of Number Zero, a mystery figure that contacts her via a secure video hookup in her apartment. Though as far as I know there's no duplicity involved in Zero's intent.
Clad in an effectively shadowy but judiciously colored costume, Aya cuts a striking figure. Using only her wits and her battle prowess, she strikes at crime. Kudos must be given to Goldman, Lopes and Peter. The gentlemen know how to illustrate skillful displays of martial arts and know how to best represent a figure of the night. They also know how to draw women and are unafraid to bestow muscle to their female fighter that backs up the visual threat of her presence. Aya's breasts are a bit large but not grotesque, and her stature creates an overall sense of power, far more so than the pair of cachongas with the girl attached going by that name at DC.
The story and dialogue offer a sharp introduction that twists the standard mummy myth in a science-fiction direction. The dialogue lacks obvious exposition and provides strong, singular voices that facilitate characterization. The plot while simple isn't without interest.
I naturally applaud the addition of another smart female super-hero to the ranks, but Aya is not a perfect book. Writer Kandeel reveals a hint of Aya's investigative abilities, but he doesn't explain how Aya deduced the "mummy" would leave the city, especially since it seemed quite content to rampage on its inhabitants. This is a small caveat in an otherwise potent pulp.
In terms of comic book construction, Aya is a very attractive product. The smaller size of the comic concerned me, but the panels and the art inside are comparatively larger than the typical composition produced by the books of the Big Two. AK further enhances the story by setting these panels on a black background instead of the traditional white and has even published the book on sturdy paper-stock that brings out the best in the art. Though Aya costs as much as the average comic book, I was also astounded by the fact that it has no ads.
The premiere of Aya: Princess of Darkness is a good start for the hero and the reader. I look forward to seeing more of this far from generic crime fighter.
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