• Richard Mooney

THE DANCER, ISSUE #1

Writer: Kat Calamia

Illustrator: E.V. Cantada

Colorist: Danny Faubricio Sànchez Chaves

Letterer: Matt Bowers

Publisher: Self Published (Kickstarter)

The Dancer, issue #1, cover, Kickstarter, Calamia/Cantada

WHAT IS IT?

The first issue in a new Kickstarter series that explores the beauty and brutality of martial arts and dance in the life of a ballet dancer turned assassin.

When Black Swan meets the Equalizer with a dash of Perfect Blue.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

(Minor Spoilers)

A world-class ballet dancer by day; a world-class assassin by night. Such is the life of Mia Stenapolis. Having lost her family when she was young, the dancer has honed her skills as a killer to rid the world of bad people. But her latest contract will put her in the same position as those she vows to stop.

Knowing this, will Mia be able to fulfill her contract, and if so, at what cost?

WHAT WORKS?

  • Kat Calamia is continuing to grow in confidence as a writer after her successful run on Like Father, Like Daughter. The comic moves at a solid pace and hits all the right narrative beats.

  • The story often plays on the notions of duality in a fun way that gives this comic more depth than a simple action story.

  • In a comic where the line between martial arts and ballet is blurred, E.V. Cantada has managed to find that middle ground to express the crossover without it looking gimmicky.

  • Being set entirely at night or in darkened interiors, Danny Faubricio Sànchez Chaves doesn’t have many opportunities to explore in terms of colours, so he has taken his command of utilizing light and shadow to really give the art depth.

  • Matt Bowers's lettering is solid throughout and is still able to make his mark by designing unique caption boxes.

  • With such physical professions at the heart of the story, the depictions of action are satisfyingly weighty.

  • It ends on a great moment, brilliantly setting up the continuation of the story.


WHAT DOESN’T WORK?

  • 1000 revamps of Batman’s origin story have sadly ruined any chance of The Dancer (or any comic really) pulling off the “parents murdered in front of their young child” trope.

  • Almost all of the non-action scenes have a very similar colour palette which means scenes can blend together.

  • While the ballet/assassin angle is unique, outside of this, the main character settles into the archetypal character traits of many other protagonists.


The Dancer, issue #1, page 6, Kickstarter, Calamia/Cantada

WHY SHOULD I READ IT?

Anyone who enjoys the action romps in the vein of Leon: The Professional or Taken will love nothing more than to sit back and enjoy this maiden issue. In the hands of Calamia, what otherwise may have come across as a simple, connect-the-dots plot will undoubtedly have the potential to grow and explore a narrative far beyond the range of story shown in the media that inspired it.

Filled with action and intrigue, the first issue also leans into exploring the power of perspective and the how the dichotomy of good and evil are subjective. So much like the story itself, there are two levels on which to enjoy The Dancer.

HOW DO I BUY IT?

Click one of these:

The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.

All Calamia/Cantada characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Calamia/Cantada or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


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