Black Beth: Vengeance be Thy Name by Blas Gallego, Alec Worley, DaNi
Rebellion (June 7, 2022)
80 pages; $24 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage
Black Beth was a one-time character published by Scream in the 1980s. She was a combination of Red Sonja and The Punisher, an armor-clad woman warrior who sought vengeance against the tyrants that slaughtered her love and her village. Aided by her mentor, the blind wild man Quido, she sought vengeance for 23 pages before disappearing into the memories of comic aficionados until 2016, when Rebellion purchased the rights from the original publisher. Alec Worley and artist DaNi have reinvented Black Beth for modern audiences in a dark fantasy tale that is sure to thrill readers.
The original Black Beth, written by Blas Gallego and drawn by an unknown artist, is presented in the first half of this book. It’s a dated story, to be sure, but a thrilling tale of revenge. Beth begins her journey with the line “My hatred will sustain me. All gentleness has been burned from my soul!” and trains to defeat the evil Count Wolfgang Rassau. Ultimately, Rassau meets his doom in the original tale, and readers are left eager for more of Black Beth’s adventures.
The next tale, “The Magos of Malice,” features Black Beth battling an army of undead skeletons while an evil warlock tries to sacrifice children. “The Witch Tree” is another short tale in black and white that features Black Beth renewing her vow for vengeance while remembering the death of her mother. Both tales are short, and very much in the same storyline as the original. They are dark fantasy, full of blood sacrifice and violent sword fights, but clever tales for what they are. Alec Worley has done his best to both modernize the Black Beth tale, but keep it in the same vein as the original.
The highlight of the collection is “Black Beth and the Devils of Al-Kadesh,” a full-color masterpiece. Black Beth is pitted against tritons, spiky underwater carrion-eating demons, and giant flying reptiles while trying to save good people from evil. It’s a tale that will remind readers of some of the more adventurous mythologies and fantasy tales with a dated style that very much plays to the story’s strengths.
Overall, Black Beth: Vengeance be Thy Name is a great graphic collection of tales. Starting with the historical beginnings of the titular character and moving through four new tales, this collection is sure to renew interest in what was a lost and all-but forgotten heroine of fantasy. It’s a solid collection, and Alec Worley and DaNi should be championed for breathing new life into this character. Fans of dark, epic fantasy will surely love this book.