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WAGNER, JOHN & FARRI, DAVIDE - XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS BLOOD AND SHADOWS 2000 Dark Horse Comics. 

 

A graphic comic book adventure that ties in with events in the Xena TV series. Xena and Gabrielle go to Rome, soon after they have come back from the dead after the now assassinated Julius Caesar had them crucified. The new empire leaders are struggling to control the citizens, and they have increased the scale of the Roman arena games including chariot races, gladiatorial combat and throwing slaves to the lions. Xena & Gabrielle want to rescue members of the cult of Eli (a thinly disguised variation on the Christian cult). There is a problem however; as the cultists are pacifists who want Xena to do no fighting or killing on their behalf. Xena agrees to try to work out a plan that will meet their wishes. She kidnaps a leading charioteer, and offers to exchange him for the cult members. The plan is foiled, and the chariot race commences. Xena learns that if a rider falls, another rider can take his place, and so when the man she hoped to see win the race falls, Xena herself takes the reigns for the Ben Hur style race, and of course, she wins. She has now effectively bankrupted the people who had rigged the race, and she uses this to bargain for the non-violent release of the Eli cult members, being the sect to which Gabrielle herself subscribed before her own execution. Gabrielle regards the cultists as personal friends. This is a well thought out and well drawn exciting story. There are some nice touches; such as Xena fighting a lion, and throwing it into the sea, and Xena obliged not to fight anyone. The factionalism of the rival Gladiatorial teams is well captured and realistic.

 

Copyright. Arthur Chappell        

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