REVIEW: ‘They Call Her… The Dancer,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

They Call Her The Dancer #1 - But Why Tho?They Call Her… The Dancer #1 is an action comic Kickstarter, written by Kathryn Calamia, art by E.V. Cantada, and letters by Matt Bowers. Mia takes after her mother and her love of ballet, one of the few things she can remember of her. Since both her mother and father were killed when she was quite young, her memory is not the most complete. When she lost them, with no biological family to turn to, she was left in the care of her mother’s sensei. This man, it turns out, taught her mother how to use her athleticism for things beyond dance. He taught her how to kill. And now, this talent has become a family tradition.

A child’s suffering at the loss of their parents forming the motivation for that child’s adult self to take up crime-fighting is as old as comics itself. While Mia’s motivations for doing what she does may not be the most original, the way it is integrated into the rest of her life does give some freshness to the character that her origin lacks.

The way They Call Her… The Dancer #1 blends the two sides of Mia’s personality, the dancer and the killer, adds a flair to the character that helps give her something to set her apart, while the story still establishes her full personality. Both in combat, as well as when she is traversing the city, Mia’s passion for ballet colors each of her movements. Artist Cantada incorporates her unique style of combat with a fluid grace that gives her something truly unique to herself.

While her fighting style is unique, the first impressions of Mia as a person do not shine so unique a light. An over-focused individual who can’t bring herself to take a break, she is the spitting image of so many protagonists motivated by trauma. While she is, at least for the moment, lacking uniqueness, writer Calamia does deliver the classic archetype with an effective amount of skill.

While the first half of They Call Her… The Dancer #1 spends it’s time introducing readers to the various facets of Mia’s life, the back half of the book sees her go on a job to assassinate a couple who have moved up the chain in the local black market. With murder having fueled their rise to power, Mia heads out to put an end to them. The way this mission plays out is interesting in the moment, while also providing the potential for Mia to grow into someone more unique in the masked vigilante landscape. Readers will have to wait and see what Calamia has planned for her protagonist to see if this growth comes through.

Beyond the aforementioned capturing of Mia’s unique combat style, They Call Her… The Dancer #1’s art does a good job delivering its narrative. While on the simpler end of the medium, it brings the personality of its characters well. Cantada also shows an appreciation for placing the reader in the midst of the action in one critical moment. Delivering an extra bit of energy to a shot that easily could’ve been left underwhelming.

Much like the rest of the art, the color work here deliveries a strong performance, while really popping off in a few key instances.  Some great color changes are used to really highlight high impact moments.

Lastly, we have the lettering. Bowers’s work on letters does an adequate job of delivering the story. While there is an occasion or two where the letter placement could be better, overall the story stays clear for the reader to follow.

When all is said and done, They Call Her… The Dancer #1 delivers a first issue that utilizes some familiar tropes to start off a character that feels like they have the potential to grow. Already possessing her unique fighting style, she just needs to have her personality grow into something that equally stands out.

They Call Her... The Dancer
3.5

TL;DR

When all is said and done, They Call Her… The Dancer #1 delivers a first issue that utilizes some familiar tropes to start off a character that feels like they have the potential to grow. Already possessing her unique fighting style, she just needs to have her personality grow into something that equally stands out.