I love stories about gods. Divine battles, the ideological conflicts that arise, the organized institutions around them, and the gods themselves are all incredibly interesting facets of stories and I really like media that focuses on all of it. She Said Destroy, in its essence, is entirely about that — the core of the story is the Goddess of the Sun waging war against the Goddess of Death, with the intent to wipe her and her followers out. This story poises itself to be about the conflict of ideals that presents itself in divine warfare, especially with the subversion of the followers of Death being the protagonists. Frustratingly, however, nothing lands where it appears to aim and the entire book feels like a missed opportunity.
The biggest complaint I have about this comic is that it doesn’t try to do anything ambitious. The first issue is interesting — it sets up the conflict, and some interesting little details such as how each god’s followers can tap into their deity’s power, and it ends on a really adrenaline-fueled note of the goddess of death telling her followers to destroy. But rather than using this really awesome ending stinger to ramp up the velocity of the book, the creative team just lets it stall out for the rest of the story. The characters just flounder around ineffectually for far longer than the story demands, and it ends up making a three issue story feel like it should have been stuffed down to three.
There’s a lot of opportunity for the comic to do something properly subversive — it even teases it with the goddess of light being the antagonist. But by the end of the story, nothing’s really happened. The villain thinks she’s won, but the goddess of death lives on. That’s it. There’s some discord around one of the characters becoming disillusioned with the priest who leads the church of the Morrigan, but it never actually goes anywhere because that character dies and is never brought up again. There’s a plotline that could have very easily turned into a discussion on gods taking control of mortals, but it doesn’t. A few followers of the goddess of the sun convert at the very end, but it’s meaningless because there were no real emotional stakes. By the end of the book I was just ready for it to be done, which is never a feeling I want when I’m reading a story.
The writing is not the only flaw of the book, although it’s the most glaring. Liana Kangas does not do a good job with the storytelling and paneling for the book. There are really good designs, and they’re gorgeous in the back of the book, but in action nothing ends up looking very good. There’s a lot of combat that takes up several pages of the book, but it’s incomprehensible – there’s very little by way of choreography, and I can’t actually tell what’s being done between panels. Rebecca Nalty’s colors are gorgeous, and easily the best part of the book, but I really don’t have anything more positive to say about it as a whole.
Vault’s had a hot streak with most of the comics they’ve been publishing recently, but this one is a real miss. I haven’t read much from Joe Corallo, Liana Kangas, Rebecca Nalty, or Melanie Ujimori, but this wasn’t a great showing for most of them. This isn’t really a book I’d recommend – it doesn’t try to do anything very interesting, but it doesn’t really succeed in what it sets out to do either. If there’s one thing that frustrates me with media, it’s a lack of ambition, and sadly She Said Destroy doesn’t seem to have any.
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