Ezra: Egyptian Exchange
Written by Sean O’Reilly
Pencils by Alfonso Ruiz
Colors by Benny Fuentes
Letters by Sean O’Reilly
Original Release Date: July 14, 2010
Re-Release Date: May 12, 2012
Cover Price: $14.95
Fans of Arcana Studio’s favorite undead swashbuckling hottie Ezra will delight in this 104-page reprint of the entire original 2004 storyline Ezra: Egyptian Exchange. Collecting issues #1-4 along with Arcana Studio Presents Free Comic Book Day, special goodies include never before seen commentary, drawings, interviews, and an insider’s glance at the mysterious origins of the mercenary “born under the black sun.” She has shared the comic universe with other headliners 10th Muse and Kade, but here she is one woman show against pirates, cat people, an immortal Goddess, some crime bosses, and they are just as few of the adversaries trying to mess up Ezra’s day.
A highly paid assassin with a motivation for revenge that is occasionally justifiable, Ezra’s moral compass resides in the same gray area as her skin. She is off to exchange the Sword of Turin for the Eye of the Serpent respectively between a crime boss and the Goddess Nephilia, and these things are never easy to do. Luckily, her optimism and tenacity are unshakeable and that makes the somewhat long and confusing fight sequences more enjoyable. For me it was a bit light on story, especially backstory, but if you are not the type of nerd who sits around thinking “Would she really know that joke in medieval times?” like I am, then this book can be rather fun in a campy way. There are new quirky fantasy/occult characters at every turn, and for some it may even distract from the inexplicable reoccurrences of “fat shaming” Ezra enjoys engaging in.
I find more charm in Alfonso Ruiz‘s pencil work and Benny Fuentes‘ jewel-toned coloring. For a pin-up style cover I also find the styling distinctly attractive. Ezra is shown with a more naturalistic physique than are present in many hero comics and wears a toned-down outfit someone could maybe find at a Goth club or a beach for that matter. Her stone-like skin is a decidedly more endearing way to say “undead” than say, rotting zombie flesh as well. I also really appreciate the detailed illustrations of exotic locales set within the fictional medieval Egypt. The lushness of those images almost makes me forget the inconvenient costume the Goddess Nephilia is wearing. The “golden talon bra” might look fabulous walking down a runway or if she were standing still for 20 minutes, but the moment she sprang into fighting action I feared for her safety. Perhaps immortals do not have to deal with bra chaffing? They do however have to fight in positions that are blatantly sexual to be effective, at least according to this comic.
I know many people enjoy girls fighting in skimpy costumes as a main plot device, and The Egyptian Exchange will not disappoint those readers. Lovers of fantasy/action sagas and nuanced atmospheres will appreciate certain aspects of this book as well. That said, if you are searching for more mindful humor in your narrative or a balanced/sophisticated take on sexuality, this is not the place to find it, or at least not yet.