Damsels #1 Review

Do these fairy tale Damsels rise to the occasion?  Read on to find out.

The official description from Dynamite:

Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, and Snow White come together with other damsels in a new adventure filled with danger and intrigue. In Damsels, the alluring princesses of classic fairy tales take up arms to save their kingdoms from war. Rediscover the darkness at the heart of fairy tales and why they’ll be no happily ever after.

Damsels opens with Rapa wishing she had not got out of bed that morning, if she had a bed to get out of that is. The day began badly and has gone rapidly and literally downhill ever since. A series of peculiar and baffling encounters throw obstacle after obstacle into her path, intent it seems on preventing her progress. The thing is, until today she had no idea she was trying to make any progress, toward anything! A collection of hazy memories and bewildering tattoos are all she has to help her figure it all out, and to be honest, she’d just as soon not bother. Around her, we see the mountain city of Caumont thrown into overdrive by the arrival of Queen Talia and King Aurore of Perrault. The streets are thronged with cheering people, does it matter they aren’t exactly sure why they are cheering, or for whom?

From the first to the last page this story is a proverbial kinetic freight train, taking the audience on a brief but engaging tour of this new world.  This is not your stereotypical fantasy story that relies on established tropes to reel in readers, instead these characters are rather fleshed out as their somewhat unique personas propels the narrative forward.

Leah Moore and John Reppion do a splendid job crafting the script, quickly establishing the pace of the book in the first few scenes.  From chases to curious onlookers, this world has legs to stand on and layers to explore.  My only gripe came when the tale broke away for a few pages and employed a story book narration instead of focusing in on the unique perspectives of these newly established characters.

The art delivered by Aneke is stylized, functional and appealing to both the readers eyes and the story’s senses.  From beginning to end, each pencil stroke illustrates a lavishly detailed world full of dynamic panels that set the stage for two engaging chase sequences.  My only minor complaint is that some of the ancillary bodies and faces lack the level of detail established in earlier scenes, but trust me unless you look for it you won’t even notice.

Damsels #1 is a very entertaining first issue that easily earns a recommendation.


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