Writer: Delilah S. Dawson
Artist: Matias Basla
Sparrowhawk follows a girl named Artemisia, who has swapped places with the Faerie Queen of another realm, and her journey back home.
The premise of Sparrowhawk‘s world is simple: if you kill something, your power grows. In order to return to her world, Artemisia must kill in order to gain the power necessary to make the trip back. The plot for this issue is simple, but effective, as Artemisia confronts a gigantic Guardian Spirit, makes her way further towards the magic mirror that will allow her to return home, and is told that she will have to kill an innocent in order to do so. It’s a tightly paced adventure, with every individual encounter and moment taking up just as much time is required. It never feels like the reader is left hanging around for too long on one scene, and each scene is impactful and important.
Artemisia is an excellently-written protagonist, with the psychological changes she’s going through being very apparent. The subtle shifting of her tone and language make it clear how Artemisia’s reluctance toward killing is shedding bit by bit, while also capturing her self-doubt towards her own actions and whether these changes are a good thing. The conflict within her is brilliantly written and makes for a compelling read. Crispin, on the other hand. is a great trickster-y guide, with absolutely no moral compass to speak of and a talent for working around his inability to lie to Artemisia. The contrast between the well-meaning, self-doubting Artemisia and the crafty, malicious Crispin makes for a great character dynamic.
Matias Basla’s art and Rebecca Nalty’s
An incredible modern fairy tale that is both well written and well illustrated. If you enjoy fantasy and/or characters with painful emotional arcs, Sparrowhawk is a must.