REVIEW: ‘Amber Blake: Operation Dragonfly’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Amber Blake Operation Dragonfly #1 - But Why Tho

Amber Blake: Operation Dragonfly is published by Heavy Metal Comics under the Magma Comix imprint, written by Jude Lagardère with art by Butch Guice, colors by Dan Brown, and letters by Gilberto Lazcano. Recovering from recent injuries, Amber finds herself eager to rejoin her teammates. However, the powers that be aren’t so certain that she’s ready, and with a major operation coming, they need to be sure that who they are sending can handle the job.

They say if you shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you will land among the stars. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes attempting to do more than what one can adequately deliver manages to do little more than harm the final product. Amber Blake: Operation Dragonfly is certainly a reminder of this.

From the opening panel to the final page, this book feels like it is sprinting to finish its story. While I can tell why the creative team would want to include every beat the story brings, at the end of the day they just don’t have enough pages to allow each plot beat and interpersonal moment the necessary time to breathe.

From transitions that lurch the reader from one point to another, leaving a state of mild confusion in its wake, to changes in character’s personalities that lack any explanation, the book is so busy getting to the next thing that critical connective tissue is often left out from writer Lagardère’s story. This is a shame, especially since the moments that are actually in the book are executed with a fair amount of skill.

The overall plot of Amber Blake: Operation Dragonfly also presents a strong concept in the abstract. An elite spy, recently recovered from injury returns to work with an uncertain ally by her side and a mission to take down a human trafficking ring. Sounds good. But again, it isn’t enough to hold itself up against the structural problems that plague the book.

Overall the art does a solid job of delivering the story to the reader clearly and effectively. The only area where the art feels wanting is in the various combat moments. Guise’s art delivers the action in a way that is functional but lacks energy. The subjects feel stiff in many panels, and the chosen points of view for the reader are often too distant, leaving the reader feeling separated from the moment.

The colors by Brown does a good job of augmenting the linework in the book. The colors are at their best during a particular scene that is set in front of the setting sun. Brown does a great job of bathing this scene in just the right hues and colors to bring the moment the appropriate look.

Wrapping up our look at Amber Blake: Operation Dragonfly is Lazcano’s lettering. The lettering here keeps all the dialogue where it needs to be, allowing the reader to follow along with the story easily.

So when all is said and done, Amber Blake: Operation Dragonfly manages to deliver particular moments well, but fails to provide the connective tissue to make these moments come together in a way that allows the reader to accept the series of events it portrays as a cohesive whole.

Amber Blake: Operation Dragonfly is available August 4th on Heavy Metal’s website.

Amber Blake: Operation Dragonfly
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TL;DR

So when all is said and done, Amber Blake: Operation Dragonfly manages to deliver particular moments well, but fails to provide the connective tissue to make these moments come together in a way that allows the reader to accept the series of events it portrays as a cohesive whole.