Review: Dark Swan: Storm Born Vol 1 by Richelle Mead & Grant Alter

Title: Dark Swan: Storm Born Vol 1 by Richelle Mead & Grant Alter

Art by Dave Hamann, Colors by Nelson Cosentino De Oliveira

Published by Sea Lion Books

For Readers 18+

Coming to a comic book store near you May 18, 2011

As a huge fan of comics, it’s always exciting to see some publishers stick their necks out and publish titles that go against the super hero grain.  Sea Lion Books has a couple of series in the works that I am excited to get my hands on, and Dark Swan: Storm Born is the first.  In addition to the Dark Swan series, Richelle Mead is also the author of Vampire Academy,  as well as a number of other paranormal romances.  I haven’t read any of Mead’s prose novels, so I thought Storm Born would give me a good introduction to her Dark Swan series.  Despite a few misgivings, I did enjoy this read, and I even snapped up the novel from Amazon ($4.30 for the Kindle!).

Eugenie is a shaman, and she earns a living sending spirits and fairies back to the Otherworld.  She is one tough chick, wielding  a knife or a gun with equal aplomb.  She’s approached by Wil Delany to find his sister, who has been abducted by the fey.  Only problem; Eugenie will have to cross over in her physical body, instead of sending just her spirit over, and that’s a dangerous endeavor.  There’s no guarantee that  she’ll make it back over.  But the thought of 14-year-old Jasmine a prisoner of a powerful fairy king doesn’t sit well with her…

I like Eugenie a lot!  She’s got courage in spades, so much that it crowds out her common sense.  She’s got a dangerous job, as well as a reckless personality, and that doesn’t add up to a long and uneventful life.  She can hold her own against big, scary death spirits, but she caves like a house of cards when she meets a handsome, charismatic stranger in a bar.  While thoroughly delectable, I would have held out until I at least was treated to a decent meal, but apparently, Eugenie is lacking in the patience department, too.

I enjoyed this first volume of Storm Born, and I’m looking forward to reading more.  I did feel confused at times, though, because I am not familiar with Eugenie, and the world-building here is only skimmed over.  This is a problem that I have found with most of the prose novel to comic book adaptions that I have read; there isn’t enough backstory given for me to feel comfortable at first, and the lack of familiarity occasionally frustrates me.  As Storm Born is presented in pamphlet comics of about 30 pages each, it requires that I invoke my non-existent patience while I wait 30 days for the next volume to hit stores.  I’m not good at that, and I see that I have a lot in common with Eugenie.  It doesn’t help that when it comes to comics, I am accustomed to reading them in 200 page chunks.

The art is expressive and conveys a realistic sense of movement.  While I like the character designs for the most part, I am not so wild about Kiyo.  He reminds me of Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, especially when they are in the bar, and the resemblance is not a good thing for me.

This is a nice introduction to the Storm Born series, and I am looking forward to learning more about Eugenie.  I know she is going to ignore all of the good advice she’s been given and take Wil’s case, so I am dying to see how much trouble she gets into while trying to rescue Jasmine! 

Grade: B

Review copy provided by publisher