Revenge isn't always sweet.
As Image releases the third collection this month of The Sword, the limited series by Jonathan and Joshua Luna, the characters are heading toward a final showdown that isn't quite as clear cut as good vs. evil.
Dara Brighton, the innocent, young paraplegic who found the Sword and began using it to avenge her family's murder, has experienced the changes that come with power and obsession. And as the series has revealed, she's not the only character whose powers made her act in questionable ways.
Named for an apparently invincible sword with magic powers, The Sword is the follow-up from the Lunas after the success of their previous Image efforts, Ultra and Girls. With Issue #20 due out this month, The Sword is only a few issues away from completion.
We talked to the Lunas about the series, what has happened to the main characters, and where the story goes from here.
Newsarama: Let's just start by checking in about the length of this series. Now that Image is releasing the third collection and the next single issue released will be #20, what do you think the total length of The Sword will be?
Josh Luna: The Sword will definitely end at #24.
Nrama: So only four issues left. We've talked before about the changes in Dara, but her friends are now noticing a change that isn't exactly positive. How do you think Dara has changed between when we first met her and now?
Josh: Physically, her transformation was more obvious — from a paraplegic art student to the most physically powerful human being on earth. Mentally, the changes were a little more complicated. When her family was initially murdered by the three demi-gods, that pretty much changed Dara’s personality irrevocably.
However, the longer she held the sword and fed on its power as she embarked on her revenge quest, the further her personality shifted from the Dara her friends and family knew and loved. The innocent girl who was once horrified and awkward when she first used the sword is now extremely proficient and desensitized to it. At this point, she is almost revenge and power personified. Because her family was her life, she feels there is no other reason to live without them (other than avenging them).
Nrama: What will be the greatest challenges Dara has to face as we head toward the end?
Jonathan Luna: There’s a few that would be spoilers if I spoke of them. One of them is, of course, facing Malia.
Nrama: The battles between Zakros and Knossos each offered unique challenges for Dara. What do you see as the biggest differences between how these two brothers fought their enemy, and how they approached their lives?
Josh: Zakros had a major god complex (and rightfully so), and that definitely surfaced in both his view on life and how he fought Dara. He feared the sword, but at the same time, he underestimated humans because he believed they were completely beneath him (to the point of him believing that the only woman truly worthy of him could only be his sister because she was the only living “goddess”). In the end, that was his downfall.
Knossos also had a serious superiority complex, but was very different from Zakros because he was deeply religious and when faced against overwhelming adversity, would not hesitate to rely on something bigger than himself — his father, whom he believed to be the one true god. While Zakros had no faith in their supposed father (who may or may not exist), Knossos did. So much in fact that he believed that faith alone would allow him to defeat Dara and retrieve the sword, but in the end…his faith did not save him.
Nrama: Without spoiling the last issue, this series just took a surprising turn as the formerly clear line between good and evil became much more blurred. How will this make the upcoming battle unique? Will it be more emotional?
Jonathan: The “blurred lines” put doubt in Dara, herself. That’s more conflict for her. And, as much as we would like for everyone to sympathize with Dara, we also want there to be empathy for her and the “villains,” as well. Our approach to this story helped to cause the blurred lines. I think we enjoyed the idea of everything not being so black and white.
Hopefully, the conclusion will have some effect on the audience.Nrama: We've found out a lot about Dara's father and his interactions with these powerful gods. Will we find out more about why he didn't fight back in the end?
Josh: If you’re asking why he didn’t fight in issue #1 (when the three gods invaded his house and killed his family) that was pretty much explained in issue #6. If he attempted to obtain the sword and defend his family, it became obvious that they would’ve not only killed him before he had a chance to attack but also come in possession of the sword. Demetrios knew this, so he had to make the horrible sacrifice of letting himself and his family die in order to keep the sword hidden and protect the world.
If you’re asking why he didn’t fight or kill them in the past, Demetrios already explained that he believed that the three gods were essentially good people (and not like Phaistos, the god that brutally murdered his parents and brother). But judging from what they did to his current family, that may have been a poor judgment call on his part.
Nrama: When we talked to you about The Sword before it began, you said the basic concept being explored in this series was "power." What sides of that concept have we seen so far? And what elements of the idea of "power" will we see as we head toward Dara's final battle?
Jonathan: There’s supernatural power. Physical. Psychological. Power over and within civilizations — political or god-like. Power in relationships — family and friends. Self-empowerment. The different ways of going about having power over someone. We pretty much explore all of these elements throughout the series.
Nrama: What can you tell us about the next few issues of The Sword?
Josh: With each victory, Dara’s assuredness has been steadily building in the past issues, but in issue #20, she will be humbled. This is where she really begins to realize what kind of enemy she is fighting. While Zakros controlled water and Knossos controlled air, Malia possesses the power to manipulate the air. So, Dara will come to understand just how difficult it is to swing a sword at things you can’t quite touch.Read the full 1st issues from each of the last two THE SWORD trade paperbacks...