Damsels #1

    Damsels » Damsels #1 released by Dynamite Entertainment on September 1, 2012.

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    Rapa wishes 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?

    The narrative of this tale jumps back and forth between a young girl and the royals of the city she's in and is elaborated here in its original sequence. Each new paragraph signifies a change in perspective.

    The story opens with a tangentially-related mishap in a medieval-style city (soon identified as Caumont). Near the window of her home, a girl opens the cage of her pet fairy thinking it is dead and the creature instead leaps to action and bites the girl's finger in order to escape. This quickly establishes the magical nature of this world as being commonplace.

    The focus then shifts to the sleeping red-haired girl at the foot of this same house and a man tossing a bucket of water on her, referring to her as an out-lander and saying she is not welcome. He also threatens to get The Watch if she does not leave. Meanwhile, a passing shepherd's herd of goats becomes riled and begins to stampede, knocking the disoriented girl around and eventually bringing her to a nearby bridge.

    The reader is left just as disoriented as the protagonist as the seemingly-random chaos continues and a caged troll that was being transported under the bridge grabs at the goats and accidentally knocks the girl off the side. When he looks up and notices her clinging tot the wooden bridge, he smiles and smacks her with the full force of its hand sending her flying.

    Meanwhile, at the market, the mother of the girl whose fairy escaped in the opening page is complaining with the merchant who sold it to her. Their conversation is interrupted however when our as-of-yet unnamed protagonist lands on the merchant's stand, destroying it and allowing all of his merchandise (fairies) to escape. Again, people refer to her as an out-lander and threaten to call The Watch and she is forced to flee, having no idea what is going on.

    Things move to the palace of the city (atop the mountain the city winds itself around) where the Queen and her blind husband prepare for the arrival of the visiting royals from neighboring, Perrault. It is clear that she is the ruler from the way she cares for and must encourage her disabled husband. As she brings him with her to the throne room, they pass by an ominously hooded guard that they don't take note of but is given prominence in the scene.

    Outside the palace, the visiting King and Queen of Perrault are being paraded through the city in a litter. It is hinted by the muttering locals that the Queen is "Sleeping Beauty". As the Queen looks out into the crowd, a girl catches her attention (the same girl who's been jostled around since the beginning of the story) and in a flash recognizes her and demands the guards capture her.

    The girl panics and dashes through the crowd, but just as she makes it out, a hooded figure pulls her in from a dark alley.

    Back at the palace, Caumont's rulers are seated in their thrones and the ominous guard from earlier is now standing directly behind the queen with nothing visible of its face but a twinkling eye. Briefly, the perspective shows us what is on the other side of the eye when a group of magical creatures are seen observing through a large emerald prism what is directly in front of the guard.

    Returning to the alley, our girl manages to get the upper hand over her attacker and pulls the hood away, revealing a black-haired amphibious girl with visible scales and gills. The exposed girl hurriedly tries to explain she meant no harm and was trying to protect the other girl, hinting that the girl is "different" from everyone else. The amphibian girl then draws attention to the other girl's tattooed arms by pulling up her sleeves and begs her to remember, claiming that the two of them are the same.

    The comic briefly takes a less-typical comic format now with larger panels displaying the grandness of the palace and paragraphs of text describing the wonder of this gathering of royals.

    In the alley, the red-haired girl seems to think the other is crazy but before they can part ways, the guards from earlier find them and demand they stop in the name of the Queen. The amphibious-girl takes charge and grabs the other's arm, presumably pulling her away to safety.

    The Kings and Queens finally meet up and have a pleasant re-introduction to one another before the neighboring Queen Talia notices the strange guard and demands "the impostor" be seized.

    Dashing through the streets of the city, the red-haired girl still seems wary of her "new friend" and says that while she doesn't have a choice now, later they will have a talk about gaining trust. Just as they seem to be rid of the guards however, they reach a cliff that plummets down towards the sea and the situation becomes dire once again.

    Guards struggle to capture the one of their own that doesn't belong at the palace and just as one man jumps to tackle it, the corporeal form disappears and a glowing stream of light flies out of the uniform and doubles back to the Kings and Queens.

    The girls are now just within the reach of their would-be captors when the amphibian girl grabs her companion by the arm and jumps off the cliff, diving far below into the waters.

    The commoners at the palace begin to exclaim in fear as the magical stream of energy rockets about the throne room but as soon as it comes near Queen Rapunzel, she casually slaps her hands together on it, opening them to reveal a dead fairy.

    Ending on a cliffhanger, deep in the water, the black-haired girl is now fully nude and revealed to be a mermaid due to her tail and with a smile she once again grabs our shocked (but still fully-clothed and human-looking) protagonist into the unknown.



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    Fetch the Watch 0

    The underlying concept behind this series seems to be interesting, but it is hard to exactly pinpoint as the format here is somewhat confusing.  There are seemingly two characters that are both Rapunzel, or one is an impostor and the other is not.  There is also a break where the action changes into a narrative explaining the past as a series of tattoos are read off of the main heroine’s arms.  There are some part which are fun, with three chase scenes throughout this first issue.  To be honest ...

    3 out of 3 found this review helpful.
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