Damsels #1
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: 9/12/2012
Price: $3.99
Creators: Leah Moore, John Reppion (writers), Aneke (artist)
Format: 32-pages; Full-Color
Age Rating: All Ages
ICv2 Ratings: 4 Stars out of 5

In the magical, medieval Kingdom of Caumont, where things seem strangely familiar but all is not what it seems, all are busily preparing for an important state visit from the royal couple from neighboring Perrault.  From its bustling streets, where poor confused Rapa finds herself being besieged by its citizenry, all the way to the highest tower of the castle where some odd intrigue is taking place between the King and Queen.

For whatever reason fairy tale characters are all over the popular culture (Snow White and the Huntsman, Once Upon A Time, Fables, Grimm, Grimm Fairy Tales) the way zombies used to be.  There are all sorts of fairy tale retellings and reimaginings out there right now and it’s hard to make the case we need another, especially one where Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid and Snow White "team-up."  And it doesn’t help that the slick cover by J. Scott Campbell kind of makes it look like the characters have formed a detective agency or something.

But, happily, that’s not what happens in Damsels #1.  Nothing much actually does; the first issue is essentially all setup but that’s OK when the premise being establishing is this clever and controlled.  Leah Moore and John Reppion, aided by some beautiful art by Aneke, do a remarkable job of creating a richly realized fairy tale world that manages to avoid most of the genre’s more obvious cliches and uses its characters in surprising ways.  Damsels is a fantasy likely to appeal to the widest possible audience.

--Steve Bennett: Writer and retail services consultant.