You see, Amala's a pirate/assassin looking for fame, glory, and cash to pay her bills. Amala isn't one of those tough women who uses her sexuality to get close to her targets, she is every bit the equal of the boys. She drinks and slurs her speech unapologetically when she gets drunk, resorts to violence when she's frustrated, and isn't afraid to offer to walk a man home in a “I will protect you from harm” kind of way. At the same time, Amala can be incredibly cute, arguing with the ghosts only she can see, and when she does interact with a boy she likes, she comes across as cute, easily flustered, but doesn't become a swooning maiden in order to win his heart.
Amala's supporting characters, the blacksmith, Smitty and his apprentice, Ren, are pretty great, too. Smitty is a stark contrast between the ornery old pirate and the doting father figure, while Ren is a boy who looks up to Amala and wants to be her just as much as he wants to be with her. Even the side characters, like the Vizier and Amala's ghosts, have a charm to them and are instantly relatable even if they're not in too many panels.
The world of Amala's Blade is a fascinating mix of pirate, ninja, and cyberpunk themes all swirled together; yet, somehow it all works. One group in the world, called the Modifiers, are supposed to be some sort of cybernetic society, which threw me off at first, but technology is introduced in more subtle ways outside of that group. Access to this sci-fi level tech is about money, not your affiliation, but the fact that cybernetic limbs, HUDs, and holograms exist doesn't stop Amala's Blade from being a high-action, fantasy, pirate adventure; it's simply an additional quirk of the world she lives in.
All that and the story's pretty good, too. This book has action, romance, and plenty of incredibly funny and cute moments. A lot happens in this issue. Besides providing a set of introductions that doesn't require reading the #0 issue, this book shows the ins-and-outs of Amala's life and introduces an element that is going to change it forever. Not bad for one issue.
Amala's Blade, call me.