Written by Charlie Stickney
Art and Colors Romina Moranelli
Letters Conor Hughes

Buy it HERE.

Glarien is sparsely written, with vivid scenes coming from very different vantage points. Tying them together is Glarien, Elven warrior, and 1970s era New York City woman undergoing psychoanalysis. It's a good thing that its writing is simple and spare considering the multitude of directions this goes in its 20 or so pages.

There's a great deal of nudity and right off the bat we're given a very explicit sex scene. For a moment there I was wondering if there was going to be no images I could use for this review (!). Glarien, the Elf and the comic did settle down eventually to its parallel story line.

This was not too bad, pretty interesting.

Charlie Stickney has a fascination for Tolkien-ish fantasy characters thrust in a realistic setting. In White Ash there's a man in working-class small town Pennsylvania who is really a dwarf. Glarien is a human woman who... ... dreams of being an Elven warrior. In her dreams there's a problem with the barriers separating the Demons from the Elven Kingdom. She goes along with the other elves on an apparent suicide mission to destroy Demons. There's a flip in the story and then we're back in 1971 (it ties in with the Madison Square Garden Ali/Frazier heavyweight fight).

After seeing the intrigue and density of White Ash, Glarien feels like a quickie promo story, not the main thing. The intertwining of graphic sex and psychiatry could've held an interesting angle, taking this comic into the area of weird erotica where all constraints fall away. After all, the early 1970s was an era that considered -briefly- the importance of having sexual freedom in movies. The Last Tango in Paris comes to mind, raising explicit sex in a movie to a short lived level of respectability, casting Marlon Brando in it.

Glarien's employment of the Fantasy tropes of Elves, Demons, sword-wielding warrior women feels a bit clich├ęd for me, and it's more work for me to get interested in the story. Unlike say, Westerns or 1930s Gangster era stories Fantasy is too personal, it lacks the historical/factual context to enable me to enter the story objectively. There's a trend, certainly, like Magic Powder, of pulling Fantasy characters into a more parochial setting. Yet it still feels like a reflection of an idea, and not the idea itself. With Fantasy I always feel I got to pull out the rule book, get the skinny on who's the good guy/bad guy, the magical object/force field/quest that needs to be captured/entered/completed. If Glarien was all out erotica with a weird psychoanalytic angle I could've gotten more interested in it, because then the Fantasy element would've existed purely as a backdrop. As it was, by trying to be extraordinary Glarien seemed, ironically, to feel just another one of those Warrior Woman Sword comics.

Next Tuesday:

A US Marshal goes deep down to Antartica to uncover a murder in Whiteout written by Greg Rucka!

Tim Larsen

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Felton CA 95018