Dynamite; $3.99

This issue starts ten years before the current story when Nazar and her sister were playing innocently, as children do, before the visions enter their lives. Flashforward to the present where the Oracles fear Nazar’s power and that she could usurp their position as well paid seer. They create assassins, avatars of Artemis and Apollo, to hunt her down and kill her.

But, it won’t be as easy as they thought, because while she was fleeing the area, Nazar came across Xena and Gabrielle. They determine that they’ll protect the young woman, which involves being attacked by the assassins and seeking asylum from a group that doesn’t like Xena very much.

I’m really enjoying this current arc, which contains the gods, myths, and magics of the time. The story by Erica Schultz is engaging, playing on the humanizing factor of Xena’s desire to protect the weaker, but also fun with manifested assassins, a two-headed bad guy, and now a new group of characters (which won’t be spoiled here).

The illustrations by Vicente Cifuentes and colors by Periya Pillai are detailed and cover the full range of the story. They capture the dark and scary moments, the intimacy, and heroics with expressiveness and good color choices. There’s also a variety in panel structure that keeps it fresh.

-Amanda Sheriff