Damsels In Distrust


I was pretty much sold with the cover and premise. But now I've had a chance to read the final first issue of Damsels #1. And it totally works.

There's been a rash of fairytales-in-the-real-world of late from Fables to Grimm to Once Upon A Time, but this is not that. This is closer to Terry Pratchett's Discworld or Shrek, just not so played for laughs. We have trolls under bridges keeping the city moving, we have markets selling fairies as pets – though they can also be used as possible assassins. And rather than stories trying to play their way out, we instead have characters trying to make their own way in the world, while kings, queens and princesses get on with whatever they get on with.


It looks good. I mean, not as good as the J Scott Campbell cover, but there's a richness and delight to the art that backs up the script. Details here matter, you need to keep your eyes open for characters who will be more important panels or pages later. The first issue does suffer from being the first chapter of a longer story, we get snatches of story, without any kind of resolution. But there's a lot to, quite literally, run around with a mermaid, a queen and an outlander, their lives somehow intersecting with the others, in a fashion that is never made clear but is very very important.

So we have a red headed dread headed woman out of of place in this fairytale city, on the run from getting herself in trouble, which only escalates as she is spotted by a very royal Rapunzel, upon which she is "rescued" by a woman with scales and gills and problems of her own, while the city is dealing with the repuercussions of royal ructions and the security implications of the uncovering of a plot against their lives. And no one is very happy with the other it seems. Again for reasons not yet made clear.

Basically, there's lots of stuff here. I was thrown by a text dump at one point, and the royal political situation still needs a little more explaining to get it into my head, but I literally have no idea where it is going, and I fancy joining the ride. Eventually.

Orders for Damsels #1 by John Reppion, Leah Moore and Aneke for Dynamite, are due today.

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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