Writer: Delilah S. Dawson
Art: Matias Basla
Sparrowhawk is a 5 issue mini-series by BOOM! Studios. Sparrowhawk tells the story of Artemisia. A young woman of mixed race (African and English) who lives in England in 1851. In #1 she is pressed to marry to save her families fortune. To her surprise, however, she is yanked through a mirror into the land of Faerie. Sparrowhawk #2 continues the story of what happens while she is in Faerie.
Sparrowhawk has a story similar to that of a table-top RPG like Dungeons & Dragons. Her only way home is to gain power. The way to gain power in the land of Faerie is to kill. It’s like leveling up a character. Artemisia changes in some way each time she kills something–though to what end is rather ambiguous. When Artemisia falls into Faerie, the queen of Faerie takes Artemisia’s place in the human world. Artemisia is on the clock. She must gain enough power to get home before the Faerie Queen destroys the human world.
This is definitely the best part of this comic. The creates and people Artemisia meets in the twisted world of Faerie are interesting, malicious, and good. They aren’t like humans, which is nice. One of the Faerie princes, Warren, is a pacifist in contrast to the bleak and violent world Artemisia has found herself in, while Crispin a bloodthirsty and adorable jackalope-like creature. These supporting characters play angel and devil to Artemisia who seems kind-hearted but will do anything to save those she loves. To add to the conflict within Artemisia, she acknowledges the dilemma of her outsider status while still passing judgment on the ways of a foreign land, just as her father’s people had done to her mother’s.
The art in Sparrowhawk is cartoonish. The pastel colors used are appropriate for the whimsical nature of Faerie as well as contradictory to the gruesome content. In fact, it may be the dark content and nature of this comic that dictated such a doodlish illustrator to be brought on board. With an artist steeped more in realism, this comic might have been seriously disturbing. While some readers will certainly enjoy the duality of content and art, others will likely wish for a more gritty presentation.
This is a fantasy, plain and simple. It is the antithesis of Alice in Wonderland in some ways, and in others, it’s a retelling. But at its core, Sparrowhawk is an adventure that points out dangers of passing judgment on those that are different than yourself. It is a critique as much as it is a conquest. It is a story of how once one’s morals are called into question it is easy to lose track of who you are.
At its core, Sparrowhawk is an adventure that points out dangers of passing judgment on those that are different than yourself. It is a critique as much as it is a conquest. It is a story of how once one's morals are called into question it is easy to lose track of who you are.