Overview

Stargate: Vala Mal Doran #1

Review

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Stargate: Vala Mal Doran #1

Credits

  • Words: Brandon Jerwa
  • Art: Cezar Razek
  • Colors: Salvatore Aiala
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: May 19, 2010

Stargate: Vala Mal Doran probably would have been very enjoyable, if I had ever watched the show.  I’m not at all familiar with the premise or the characters, so it’s not surprising that this book left me a little lost.  It focuses on the character Vala Mal Doran, who appears to be an expert strategist and manipulator.  In this first issue, there are a lot of traps, set-ups, and double crosses, but Vala seems to always come out on top.  Normally, I like this kind of character, so I’m curious to know more about her.

Like I said, though, this book is very geared towards people that are already familiar with the characters from the show.  In the first few pages, writer Brandon Jerwa recaps what Vala’s done in the show and briefly describes who she is.  For the most part, this feels like it’s done for fans of the series, as I really had no idea what a Goa’uld overlord is, and it doesn’t mean much to me that she consorts with criminals and kings since some kings are criminals and some criminals turn out to be noble people.  Still, the fact that she’s an amazing thief and an experienced traveler that can’t be caught or killed helped me get a feel for her character. 

Jerwa helps new readers get a better handle on her through the book by proving her ability in a very natural way.  She continually outsmarts everyone strategically, and is able to fight or escape her way out of intense situations.  He does a great job selling her charisma and sex appeal as well.  All in all, Jerwa is able to translate what I assume to be a charismatic and dangerous woman from the screen to comics. 

Artist Cezar Razek also does an incredible job building the characters in this issue.  The subtle mischief in her expression was invaluable in helping me get a grasp of her personality. In addition, Razek not only draws Vala beautifully, he also adds a sultriness and confidence to her body language.  Extremely well done.

That being said, the rest of the story was a little hard to immerse myself in.   As I mentioned earlier, this world is unfamiliar to me, and while the writer does make some effort to help new readers, the plot twists and turns too much for a new reader to properly focus on the story, the setting, and the characters at the same time. 

There are classic sci-fi elements that any reader can appreciate, though.  Razek and Jerwa do a great job coordinating character design and development with Vala’s band of misfits.  The shape-shifting partner is also a good touch, and the rich but classless former employer with a grudge has been a fun plot device since the original Star Wars. 

Stargate: Vala Mal Doran was not exactly my cup of tea, but it does have a great deal of appeal, both for newcomers and veteran fans alike.  Fans of the show or sci-fi in general shouldn’t hesitate to give this book a chance.

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