Is Francis Manapul's sexy historical thriller any good? Click and find out!
Credits & Solicit Info:
7 WARRIORS #1
Written by Michaël Le Galli
Drawn by Francis Manapul
SC, 32pgs, FC, SRP: $3.99
COVER :Francis Manapul
From the fan-favorite artist of The Flash and Adventure Comics comes 7 beautiful women, 7 WARRIORS! In 6th century Libya, the capitol of an ancient nation is surrounded by the Persian and Byzantine armies. Seven are chosen to save the heir to the kingdom. Seven Warriors. Seven... sexy, gorgeous women? An exquisitely rendered tale in the vein of 300, written by Michaël Le Galli and drawn by Francis Manapul.
If you enjoy strong, sexy women with swords, like your history shaken and not stirred and don't mind some implied nonconsensual sex, you will love 7 Warriors #1. A translated version of the French comic written by Michaël Le Galli and illustrated by Frances Manapul, 7 Warriors #1 is sure to outrage many of the "pro-female" camp with its depiction of six female warriors who somehow all manage to get (possibly) unknowingly impregnated by the prince they've been assigned to protect. Toss in some naked lesbianism and a first page sex scene that shows plenty of female nudity but barely an inch of male skin and there's enough potentially outrageous content to make Catwoman look like a comic that you'd give to your conservative grandmother as a Christmas present. However, in the middle of all the nudity is a relatively engaging tale that's beautifully drawn and has enough hooks to keep readers coming back for more.
Set in sixth century Libya, the fictional kingdom of N'Nas Amon is under attack by the Byzantine and Persian armies. Knowing that defeat is imminent, Queen Tsin'inan orders a group of female Sarmatian mercenaries to lead her son, Prince Aksamon, to the hidden city of Jabbaren to ensure the continuance of the royal line. She also orders them to complete rigorous physicals and then doses both the warriors and her son with some sort of medieval roofie so that the prince can unwittingly impregnate them all. Once that bit of unpleasantness is out of the way, the prince and his bodyguards set off on a dangerous underground path filled with traps and surprises. Not surprisingly, before the issue ends, the perilous journey claims the life of one of the warriors and the remaining travelers are faced with an even more dangerous challenge ahead. Le Galli presents a compelling plot and delivers enough characterization to keep readers at least slightly interested in the well-being of Aksamon and his band of bodyguards. While the dialogue is clunky, I can easily see this being more of a flaw on the translator rather than Le Galli's original work. As long as the reader doesn't mind gratuitous sex and don't get too caught up in the historical accuracy of the book (there's a laughably inaccurate depiction of an Iranian lesbian warrior cult of Demeter inserted towards the end of the issue), they'll enjoy Le Galli's plotting.
To be blunt, I see no other reason for this miniseries to exist other than as an excuse for Francis Manapul to draw sexy warrior women and gratuitous nudity. Luckily, Manapul is up to the task and delivers some of the finest art of his career. While 7 Warriors lacks the inventive panel layouts from Manapul's Flash series, the artwork has a much more finished feel, in part because his work is inked and colored using traditional means. The artwork in the issue is near-perfect and shows why Manapul is considered to be one of the hottest artists in the industry today. The rest of the comic, however, doesn't live up to Manapul's artwork. Too much exposition and needless dialogue bubbles often fill the panels, cluttering Manapul's gorgeous art. The lettering is uneven and looks amateurish. Several lines of dialogue actually shift in mid-sentence, as if the letterer accidentally bumped his ruler while filling out the word balloons. Errors such as these make the comic look sloppy, like Boom did a half-assed job of adapting the comic for the American comic book market.
Overall, 7 Warriors #1 is an acceptable first chapter to a story that I'm sure will look and read better when collected into a single volume. There's plenty to like about 7 Warriors, especially on the art side, and plenty more to talk about when discussing the roles of femininity and empowerment in comics. However, since Batman doesn't appear to schlup anyone, I doubt this book will merit the discussion that lesser comics by mainstream publishers have received over the last two months. Pick up 7 Warriors if you want a dose of real female empowerment mixed with gorgeous art a slice of controversy.
Review by: Christian Hoffer