I refuse to take full responsibility for my addiction, as I live with an enabler. At my request, the local pusher delivered the 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd issues of The Sword. Apparently, I have now "caught up" with the series, and will have to wait for the 23rd issue to be released.
More than anything, I am really excited to report that I am now an issue reader. From now on I will be waiting, anxiously, each month for a new issue. That seems difficult and unfair, but it seems difficult and unfair in a way that I think is kind of fun. Delayed gratification isn't a concept that's been enforced upon me by outside circumstances since I was a child. But this--it isn't up to me, I can't budget my money and plan, i'm just waiting on a delivery. I feel like I should have mailed somebody box tops. What am I going to do in the meantime? I guess Cinderella will be a standby of mine....along with a couple of other old friends.
So, what happened in these four issues? A lot of shit. But there's also a few soap opera-y twists and maybe a bit of treading water. One of the issues, either 20 or 21, seemed a bit shorter than usual. The main twist in the 19th-21st issues is that Malia has announced her existence in Times Square (meaning she's announced herself to the whole world) and promised to save them from Dara, who the world know fears. (That's what happens when you kill what looks like people in front of hundreds of television cameras! Dara probably should have seen that coming.) In response, Dara and friends hijack a plane - which, for some reason, came across to me as being overly dramatic - and force the pilot fly them to NYC so that Dara can face Malia. Along the way, her best friends wounds, previously healed by the sword, begin to return. She refuses to let Dara heal her, and finally decides that she wants out of all of this confusion and insanity. (I can't decide if I totally agree with her "the Sword is a horrible influence" argument, but I do think it would have been a better idea to quit the team before she helped Dara hijack a plane.)
We also learn that Malia and Demetrios were SPOILER ALERT once lovers. But that he chose other women, and Dara's mom, for, well, their human qualities. I wasn't sure what impact this information would have on the story. It's interesting, it's weird, but...so what?
And then I read issue 22. Dara vs. Malia - Round 1. Ding!!
And so it begins. It begins with words. Whether or not Malia is truly a God, we don't know, but she is 4,000 years old. And the first battle of wits is Malia being all "I know more about you than you because I'm 4,000 years old and you are not. And your sooooo predictably human. Ugh!" We get the talking out of the way, and then the actual fighting begins, and Dara sort of gets her ass kicked in the beginning.
Eventually, Dara begins to get the upper hand. It happens when she realizes that the information that Malia tried to hurt her with - that Maila and Dara's father were once in love - is the very same thing that can hurt Malia. It begins when Dara is waiting for the sword to heal her shattered hand, and Malia says, "I only wish you father were alive, not only to see his daughter die by my hands, but to watch the world embrace me for it. What I would give to see Demetrios' reaction when I win over his stupid, precious humans. I can only hope he's somewhere, watching."
Dara begins laughing, and she says, "You wish my father was alive to watch you rule the world, just so you can spite him. Don't you see? Even in death...even after you killed him....my father has power over you."
Ah ha! Seeeee? See? The truth hurts! Man, Malia really fucks Dara up after that! But Dara now has the power to hurt Malia. Malia is still jaded and dejected from a lifetime of not being good enough - HUMAN enough - for Demetrios. It's a classic trick in the being-a-bitch book! Saying "you may be hot, but my mother, my sister, he chose us. You were just some girl he used to date."
And then, it gets even better! The fight intensifies. At one point, it seems like Dara is really about to breath her last breath. But then, Malia has to play "uncle." She says, "Call me God and I'll give you a quick death. Acknowledge my power and how foolish it was to challenge me."
But holy mother of the Easter Bunny. You know what Malia does? She reaches into Dara's stomach, and pulls out her womb! And fallopian tubes! The whole kit 'n kaboodle! And says "I can't bear children....but neither can you!!!" And then, STOMPS ON HER WOMB.
WTF?!??!!! Have you ever heard, seen or read anything like this?!?!
(Oh, and Malia says what we all know. Even if Dara grabs the sword and heals from that wound, she'll never be "right" inside. That's pretty catty!)
I'm not happy for Dara, but I am happy that the entire world watched that happen to her, because now the world knows it better be scared of Malia too. She screams at the television cameras, it's transmitted around the world, and now everybody knows: Malia is evil. From what I've heard, this comic has only two issues left. I cannot even imagine what's going to happen next.
I can't wait to find out.
-Nina Stone, 2010