The Training Of Elsbeth In Sword Daughter #5

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

Dags and Elsbeth are holding up in the monks’ monastery in the mountains. Elsbeth is being trained with her sword, and the monks question Dags why he is on this mission and why he brought his daughter with him. However, even this sanctuary isn’t safe from the Forty Swords. Also, we continue to get glimpses into the future for Dags and Elsbeth.

Sword Daughter #5 cover by Ben Oliver
Sword Daughter #5 cover by Ben Oliver

Sword Daughter #5 continues the saga of Dags and Elsbeth, the two survivors of a village slaughtered by a group of marauders calling themselves the Forty Swords. The previous four issues have catalogued Dags and Elsbeth’s quest for vengeance

It is a comic of few words, opting instead to allow the art and sequencing to tell the story. This comic issue may very well be the “wordiest” of Sword Daughter, and, even then, it is a short read.

This issue, like the rest, drips with atmosphere. Much of the book consists of panels showcasing the snow-covered mountainside and rocky terrain surrounding the monastery.

This story of the characters hits an especially interesting point this issue. There has been a lot of animosity between Dags and Elsbeth since the first issue, and the glimpses of the future imply that things will not change in this regard. This reaches an intersection with the present, where the monks press Dags on why he did not simply start a new life with his daughter instead of bringing her on this dangerous quest for vengeance.

Sword Daughter #5 art by Mack Chater, Jose Villarrubia, and letterer Nate Piekos of Blambot
Sword Daughter #5 art by Mack Chater, Jose Villarrubia, and letterer Nate Piekos of Blambot

Mack Chater’s brilliant artwork is what pulls this atmospheric tale of blood and snow together. His style is both highly-detailed and deceptively simplistic. He crafts a gorgeous world with weathered and scarred characters. Jose Villarrubia’s color work compliments it all with a stark color palette that makes the environment feel even more cruel and alienating.

Sword Daughter #5 is another enveloping installment of the revenge tale. It’s a grabbing read that brings its own concept under the sword while building a world with as much showing and as little telling as possible. It definitely earns a recommendation. Check it out.

Sword Daughter #5 comes to us from writer Brian Wood, artist Mack Chater, color artist Jose Villarrubia, letterer Nate Piekos of Blambot, and cover artist Ben Oliver.

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