Amanda Swan: The Hellfire Legacy features a sexy celebrity IT girl who masquerades as a leather-clad vigilante fighting to undermine a sinister organisation evolved from the sinister Hellfire Club of Victorian London.
Using the likeness of a beautiful model or a famous face is nothing new in the comic book world. It can be more of a sales gimmick than anything else and sometimes the story will suffer as a result of trying to force the content to fit around a celebrity. When I got a copy of Amanda Swan: The Hellfire Legacy to review, I was intrigued to see what direction the comic would take. Would it be a case of sacrificing content for a gimmick, or would it be a genuinely good book? I am happy to say that it is a case of the latter.
After a charming introduction from the title model Amanda Swan, the book opens during a meeting at the “Anglo-parallax Corporation” whose role and agenda are not yet clear. What is made clear is that the corporation have taken an interest in Amanda and have been keeping her under surveillance for some time. A smart and flashy sequence then takes place which shows the reader that there is more to Amanda than meets the eye. She is in fact one bad ass babe on a vigilante mission which would seem to span over 100 years. There are some very slick flash back sequences taking us back to Victorian London circa 1858 where it would seem that Amanda has been dishing out her own brand of vigilante justice.
This issue was co-written by Ed Murphy and Tom Campbell. The pace of the story is superb and interestingly crafted. The character of Amanda Swan is well written and not once did it occur to me that it was based on a real life person. This enabled me to keep the fantasy alive and enjoy the rollercoaster ride that ensues. The content is action packed and also fairly graphic in places with our sassy heroine dispatching her quarry in splendid style. My personal favourite being a knife removed from Amanda’s cleavage and thrown into someone eye.
The artwork by Joel Carpenter is superb. The action is blended very well with the detailed character expressions. Each panel is clear, well placed and easy to understand. The likeness of the title character is balanced perfectly and the content is sexy without being gratuitous. When the action switches from modern day to Victorian London, the style also changes. The style is great and sets the scenes so the reader knows where they are at any given time. Much of the credit to this switch in style should be given to colorist Derek Dow who captures the grimy and seedy feel of 1800’s London with expert craft. The lettering by Dom Regan is also worth a mention. It is nicely placed and easy to read. The sounds effects are also very nice and add to the action set pieces. The last few pages of issue one feature some glamour shots of the beautiful Amanda Swan and are a great way to finish the book.
Overall I was very impressed by this issue and it could be a sign of great things to come from this series. There are allot of unexplained plot points in this installment and it will be interesting to see what direction issue two takes. It is really nice to see a strong feminine lead character that is smart, sexy and tough. This issue will included in July’s Diamond previews and out for sale shortly after. If you just can’t wait to read it until then, you can order a copy direct from Amanda Swans website.