Cat and Heinz are both orphans living in an orphanage, where Cat, who lost her father after he tried to drown her, is the main target of bullies. Heinz, who is also a target because of his feminine-looking hat, is frequently Cat’s protector, yet Cat’s shame makes it difficult for them to connect. One day, after Cat rather expertly pummels the bullies, a wizard comes to collect Cat. She has shown potential to become the Keeper of the Sword, which will protect the world from the galactic calamity that it is prophesied to happen. As the enemy approaches, Heinz and Cat will have to step up to fulfill their destinies.
The Sword and the Butterfly mixes Arthurian legend and science fiction in a theoretically pleasing combination, but ultimately falls short. The comic’s pacing frequently seems rushed as the story is sacrificed in the push toward the final battle. It’s not really clear who or what the villains are: the villains for the final battle show up out of the blue, and it is difficult to see how these villains connect to the ones who Cat and Heinz initially faced. The uneven character development also affects the story’s arc: while the story does explore some of Cat’s backstory, Heinz, despite his key role, gets limited attention. There is also minimal in-story explanation for how Cat and Heinz moved from acquaintances to a relationship and then marriage—a fact that made the reviewer question why there even needed to be a romance. A more careful development of the setting and characters would have prevented confusion and increase the impact of certain scenes.
The art is also a mixed bag. Jim Jimenez’s character designs for Cat and Heinz suit them, and he brings the action to life with dynamic sequences. The bright palette that favors darker colors suits the story’s bold action scenes. However, his skill at portraying action is inconsistent, and, as a result, some of the action sequences are stiff and awkward.
Despite its faults, The Sword and the Butterfly is often engaging and enjoyable. Cat’s reaction to Heinz’s kindness after she is bullied and betrayed are spot-on, and the book also sends an important message about the importance of trust and collaboration. The Sword and Butterfly has a lot of potential, yet the confusing story prevents it from being an essential addition to library collections. That being said, patrons who want a story with an action-filled plot and do not necessarily need a well-developed setting might be interested in this one.
The Sword and the Butterfly
by Matthias Wolf
Art by Jim Jimenez
Razor Wolf Entertainment, 2014
Publisher Age Rating: 13 and up