Amber Blake: Operation Dragonfly
Written by: Jade Lagardère
Pencils by: Butch Guice
Inks by: Guice and Rick Magyar
Colors by: Dan Brown
Letters by: Gilberto Lazcano
Published by: Magma Comix
In Amber Blake: Operation Dragonfly from Heavy Metal creator-owned imprint Magma Comix, readers enter the seedy world of international human trafficking… however, in this self-contained comic story, there is a team of operatives who are ready to stand against this all-too realistic villainy!
Over the course of this volume, which tells an essentially self-contained story, readers follow the eponymous Blake as she closes in on the human traffickers who are her quarry. From her training to the travel to the arrival at the traffickers’ doorsteps, this story is engaging at every turn.
One of my favorite aspects of Operation Dragonfly is that throughout the story, Blake encounters children: there are encounters at the airport and in a hotel elevator that give Blake a chance to interact with young girls who are hand-in-hand with their mothers.
I especially appreciated these story beats because, in a comic that is filled with brutally realistic depictions of human trafficking, these moments help remind the reader that in our world, beauty and innocence exist alongside such horrible elements… and it’s worth standing up to those awful elements in order to protect the innocent.
This is definitely a comic that will afford catharsis for some readers, as Blake is an empowering figure who has recovered from abuse in her own past in order to become a heroic figure for other individuals who are suffering in similar situations. While she faces many realistic (and frightening) opponents, she is a capable warrior who will not succumb to their machinations.
I also especially enjoyed the large-format in which the story was presented. As with Heavy Metal, the magazine-sized pages give the art an opportunity to spread out, which this volume uses to great effect.
Not only are the individual panels afforded enough space to breathe on each page, but the format is ideal for the stylish outfits worn by our heroes (hey, if you’re going to be involved in international intrigue, you may as well look good doing it). Furthermore, the large pages are well suited to the story’s style of coloring, an aesthetic I found instantly welcoming and engaging.
Although Amber Blake is a pre-existing character, I had no problem picking up this volume and enjoying it without having read the previous entries.
That being said, I enjoyed this comic so much that I am motivated to find the previous volumes after reading Operation Dragonfly, and I suspect I missed some nice character work because of my unfamiliarity (if nothing else, I’ll be picking up the collection when it is released in November 2021).
Amber Blake: Operation Dragonfly is available now at your local comic shop.