Xena, Warrior Princess #1: Contest of Pantheons
by John Layman, Fabiano Neves (Dynamite, 2007)

Xena, Warrior Princess was a guilty pleasure.

Let's face it, the weak plots and cheesy special effects weren't what drew the majority of viewers to their televisions each week. It was cleavage on parade, hot girls in leather and carrying swords, heavily dosed with slapstick violence and a strong undercurrent of forbidden romance that made Xena more successful than its testosterone-driven counterpart, Hercules, the Legendary Journeys.

Unfortunately, those qualities don't translate well to the printed page.

Contest of Pantheons is the first volume of Dynamite Entertainment's Xena trades, and they really pulled out all the stops. Featuring guest appearances by fan favorites Callisto, Joxer and Autolycus, as well as Zeus, Ares and others of the Greek pantheon, plus the rival Egyptian gods and an army of undead, this yarn would have broken the budget if filmed. There are no big surprises here -- Hey, Joxer's a bumbling coward! Autolycus is greedy and misogynistic! Callisto is evil, but hot! Gabrielle loves Xena! -- and the plot just grinds along to its inevitable conclusion: Xena always wins.

It's just not very interesting.

review by
Tom Knapp

20 September 2008

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