Magma Comix presents Amber Blake Operation Dragonfly, a new adventure from the world of previously released European spy thriller by Jade Lagardère and Butch Guice. Can this title gain a licence to kill off the competition or is this world simply not enough for readers?
Publisher: Heavy Metal/Magma Comix
Writer:Jade Lagardère, Denton J. Tipton (Editor)
Artist:Butch Guice (Pencils/Inks), Rick Magyar (Inks), Dan Brown (Colours), Gilbert Lazcano (Letters)
Price:TBC from ComiXology
Following the adventures of the titular heroine, Amber Blake Operation Dragonfly is the story of this agent of the mysterious Argon organisation who, despite returning to duty, continues to struggle with the loss of her close friends and colleagues. However, despite her emotional conflict and the dislike she garners from her fellow agents, Amber is given the opportunity to avenge those she lost when Soa, the man responsible for their deaths, is located. But, despite her exceptional skills, can Amber Blake overcome the animosity of her team and, more importantly, trust in herself to get the job done?
An up and down story, Jade Lagardère has written an interesting comic which seems to imbue the spirit of 00s tv series Alias. Unfortunately for new readers, Amber Blake Dragon Fly struggles to find its footing as it begins under a cloud of confusion. This comes down to the fact that, despite it being a one-shot, much of the plot points and/or exposition to bring the reader up to speed appears to be missing, giving it the feel that we have been dropped into the middle of the story rather than at the beginning. Because of this, I found myself with a lot of questions from the get go and I struggled to get my bearings and fully understand what was going on. That said, the plot does seem to settle as it progresses and some of the answers are revealed. For instance, Amber herself, very much at the centre of the confusion at the start, becomes a more captivating character as more regarding her predicament is shown, which helps make the issue a much more engrossing read right up until the final page.
As for the art, Butch Guice provides Amber Blake and her supporting cast a gorgeous style. Guice’s work is very reminiscent of Michael Lark’s work on the Lazarus titles and Steve Epting’s work of Captain America (as well as Guice’s own work on Cap). This is because the work here displays an efficiency and brutality very similar to Forever Carlyle and Steve Rogers respectively, allowing this issue to accurately demonstrate Amber’s skills etc and allow actions to speak louder than words. That said, the work isn’t faultless as it is let down during the flashback sequences which look the same as the present day without any reference. As a result, it causes confusion in the story as it becomes unclear whether the scene is set in the past or the present.
Despite a rocky start, Amber Blake Operation Dragonfly is a fun, action packed read, which delivers an intriguing premise and a fantastic visual aesthetic. If there is one downside, it is that Lagardere and Guice cannot fit everything about this world into this one issue, and it feels like we only scratch the surface and even ends on something of a cliffhanger. If this is your first look into the wider world of Amber Blake via Magma Comix then it is off to a strong start, but perhaps one which will get more relevance when the reprints of the original series head our way later in the year?