Comics, and pulp fiction before it have a long history of strong, sword-wielding warrior women (Red Sonja, Lady Sif, Valkyrie, Elektra Natchios, Psylocke Miho (Sin City), Colleen Wing, and many others). So the introduction of yet another powerful female warrior shouldn’t be of a surprise, and yet, with the introduction of Dandelion Studios’ Donna Stone, a new character has been added to this lexicon. Only, Stone is not like any of the afore-mentioned women. Stone, you see, has gotten on in years and is not as, well, bodacious as others in her sisterhood. First of all, she is quite a bit older than most of the other women we mentioned, and as such, she is a bit more, shall we say stouter than others of her ilk. Ok, let’s come right out and say it, she’s what any one of those other women would look like if they live is a real world or were allowed to grow older.
Still, don’t let Stone’s matronly figure fool you, she can still kick some serious man-butt when she needs to do so (something that demonstrates throughout the length of the comic). When we first meet Stone, she is making her way northwards when she is stopped by a tribe of warrior women who demand her food and coin in order to pass. Calling upon her not incomparable negotiation skills, she manages to convince them that it would be in their best interest to have her on their side than to fight her. When one of their own recognizes the legendary warrior, they relent, and take her back to their camp.
Once there, Stone first regales them with epic stories of battles fought, then learns more of their particular plight. Apparently, they were run out of their own kingdom by a terrible despot, and now they are forced to hide out in the wild lands with prices on their heads as they dream of the day that they will be able to overthrow the usurper, and take back their land. Stone, who is nothing if not honorable, agrees to once more take up the sword in their cause, and leads a party back to their capital city in order to help set them free.
For those of us who came of age reading Red Sonja tales, this story is pretty standard fare, however, given that Stone is not so much Red Sonja, as Madeline Westen (Michael Westen’s mom on USA’s Burn Notice), which takes this story to a whole new level of storytelling. Scribe Rick Silva has brought a more feministic attitude to the comics, writing it as if its audience were women and not 12-year-old boys reading it with one hand. Stone is a wonderfully adult comic that uses adult not as a pejorative but as an apt descriptor — that is to say something that someone with adult sensibilities would enjoy reading.
Published by Dandelion Studios, Stone is part of the company’s Quarterstaff fantasy imprint. It is written by Silva and illustrated by Alice and Vincent Veidt, and is a six-issue series. Stone #1 is a full-format 32-page B&W comic sporting a full color cover. The comic can be purchased from Dandelion’s website and is available for $4.oo plus $1.50 shipping & handling.