Are you looking forward to a new comic book but it’s impossible for you to wait for its release before you know what we thought about it? That’s why there’s DoomRocket’s Advanced Reviews—now we assess books you can’t even buy yet. This week: ‘She Said Destroy’ #1, out May 29 from Vault Comics.
THIS ADVANCE REVIEW OF ‘SHE SAID DESTROY’ #1 IS SPOILER-FREE.
by Brendan Hodgdon. Mythology is a great unifier of the disparate strains of human culture. While mankind may have fractured into dozens of different ethnocentric groups over the eons, the basic building blocks of their myths echoed each other. Gods of the sun, gods of death… these and more appear in a multitude of cultures, and their legends still survive to this day. But what if those gods were real? What if their legends continued through the present into the distant future? This is the conceit that Joe Corallo, Liana Kangas, Rebecca Nalty, and Melanie Ujimori explore in She Said Destroy, the latest big swing from the heavy hitters at Vault Comics.
This debut issue grabs the audience by the hand and jumps right into the thick of the series’ story. An intergalactic fleet serving the Celtic sun-goddess Brigid arrives at the isolated interstellar keep of the followers of Morrigan, the goddess of death, and we see Morrigan’s flock resolve to seek out their mistress and gain her guidance in the renewed conflict. At the center of this story are Winona, a special student amongst the fey who is tasked with contacting the Morrigan, and Jackelyn, a powerful fey warrior who defends their home from Brigid’s elite soldiers. The whole affair moves quickly, cutting between both characters and giving us a multifaceted glimpse of the world, without resorting to any large, inorganic exposition dumps.
Right away, the creative team establishes a vibrant sense of magic and wonder in this world they’ve created. Kangas’ design choices show us a world that, while set against a relatively tangible cosmic backdrop, is still more magical than anything else. The flying temple design of Brigid’s flagship and the floating island of the Morrigan’s home are both gorgeous, fantastical designs, and Kangas’ rendition of magic is fluid and beautiful even in combat. And by combining space opera and ancient mythology, without belaboring the worldbuilding or backstory, Corallo’s script mixes in a real sense of mystery and scale to it all.
And while the world and its tone are quickly and effectively established, the characters at the core of it all have yet to be fully examined. In Winona, Corallo presents an interesting twist on the Chosen One trope, one who is coddled and held up like an honors student rather than treated with suspicion or toiling in obscurity. And while Corallo also imbues her with a vibrant sense of curiosity, we don’t get to see her do very much in this first chapter. On the flip side, the warrior Jackelyn has much capital-B Badass stuff to do with her magic, but we don’t get to know her beyond that. What Corallo’s script offers us in these characters (in conjunction with Kangas’ great designs) is intriguing, and there’s still room enough to grow in future installments.
What really helps sell this world is the artwork, and not just Kangas’ uncanny instinct for design and layout. Her style is understated, not filled with overwrought details; it’s a clean, uncluttered look that fits nicely with the broadly mythic storytelling of the book. Colorist Rebecca Nalty also does some heavy lifting to give the story a unique identity. It’s not very often that you see a space opera rendered in Easter-y pastels, but it works to beautiful effect here. And letterer Melanie Ujimori casts a wide net in her efforts, using a wide variety of tools to give the dialogue some added energy. The style that she uses for Brigid’s holographic communications in particular is very effective, with a soft speech box punctuated with bubbles, again providing what is traditionally presented as sci-fi a magical feel.
It was an interesting choice by this creative team to take these Celtic gods and throw them into a space opera setting. The story of She Said Destroy could work quite well with a straight fantasy backdrop, but it’s the idea of these two mostly-defunct gods surviving through millennia only to be carried across the stars that makes it feel unique. Corallo, Kangas, Nalty & Ujimori have imbued their title with an ineffable sense of magic and a unique visual footprint. She Said Destroy will catch the eye and the imagination alike.
Vault Comics / $3.99
Written by Joe Corallo.
Art by Liana Kangas.
Colors by Rebecca Nalty.
Letters by Melanie Ujimori.
7.5 out of 10
‘She Said Destroy’ #1 hits stores May 29.
Check out our interview with Joe Corallo and Liana Kangas here.
Check out this 5-page preview of ‘She Said Destroy’ #1, courtesy of Vault Comics!