by Mike Favila, Editor
This month, Titan rereleases Marada The She-Wolf, a sword and sorcery tale originally published back in Marvel’s Epic days. Created and owned by Chris Claremont and John Bolton, it finally sees print in a beautiful hardcover book. Titan’s been coming out with a lot of cool older properties that haven’t really had a chance to shine, and Marada is no exception. Apparently starting life as a Red Sonya tale, it was spun off and concieved as a new, standalone character to avoid continuity issues with the upcoming Red Sonya movies in the 80s. I’d never heard of Marada The She-Wolf before, but the pedigree of the people involved caught my attention and I figured it was worth a read.
I’ve always known Claremont from his groundbreaking work on X-Men, and more specifically, the 1990s run he had with Jim Lee. Though I’ve respected the storylines, I never quite took to how verbose some of his dialogue was. Paired with Lee, it seemed like the whiz pow visuals were moving way too fast for the paragraph length word balloons that would come out. I just didn’t get it. However, in this story, his attention to detail is a great complement to Bolton’s visuals. Somehow, the flowery nature of Claremont’s word choice seemed to match the historic setting. They even throw in a cameo from Gaius Claudius Marcellus to firm up the time period.
John Bolton’s artwork is dense and rewarding. the colors are well chosen and moody, although you can see how delicate his linework is when the scene is brighter in later episodes. You can really see the lightness of Marada’s hair and slight musculature. Though the creature design isn’t anything new, they seem somehow more real, like Bolton modeled them off real people and added in horns and red skin later.
Considering the creative team are composed entirely of men, Marada The She-Wolf is no flat pin-up. On the contrary, Claremont’s setup of her value system is very forward thinking. It’s a true feminist statement that Lord Donal would prefer her as the warrior than a submissive female slave. In some ways, it’s very anti-Conan. And though she can love him back, it’s not her only characteristic, nor is it her defining one. She is a woman, but she is also a warrior, a mother, a teacher, and a scholar. She has more than enough strength to fight an army, but can still take care of Lord Donal’s daughter as if she was her own child.
I breezed through Marada The She-Wolf cover to cover in a span of an hour. The creative team seem to have a chemistry that I really didn’t pick up from their separate works. I really wish there were more stories involving the character, but we’ll just have to make do with the tales contained in this awesome reissue. If you know John Bolton from his stuff on Vertigo, or only know Chris Claremont from X-Men stuff, it’s worth checking out this volume and getting lost in the story.
ComicsOnline.com gives Marada The She-Wolf 4 out of 5 evil ghouls from hell!
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