The Damsels series from Dynamite comics seeks to reinvent fairy tale heroines as action heroines. The newest mini-series takes on the Little Mermaid with mixed results.
The story opens with an undersea rescue of a seal pup by a mermaid. She battles sharks to save him. Once out of the water she has a sit down with a selkie, a seal who can take human form, who tells her to try find some joy in life. Our little mermaid is an emo girl though. Love has done her wrong and moping is her favorite pastime.
She meets up with an exiled prince who also has an ax to grind. He dared to criticize his kingdom’s Atlantean conquerors. He plays on the mermaid’s bitterness and entices her to join his cause. Together they hire a boat and prepare to execute their plan.
The first half of the book with the mopey mermaid did not excite me. In fact she was so down on life and so heartbroken I thought I was reading a romance comic. I suspected the prince would come in and make her believe in true love again. This interested me not at all. I didn’t even like this girl, let alone care if she was would ever be happy again.
When instead it turned to something of a vengeance story, I perked up a bit. Rather than play her as heartbroken she’s more bitter and angry. She seems more than willing to take that out on the bad guys presented to her by the prince. For his part he’s definitely manipulative but seems to be honest enough about his motivation. I can’t help but believe there’ll be a “true love wins out” bit in the end though. The illustrations are good, particularly of the scenery. I find the people to be oddly proportioned and it was a bit disconcerting from time to time.
I think I’ll pick up the second issue to see where we’re heading but it will have to really impress me for me to keep going after that.
Damsels: Mermaids #1 is written by Matt Sturgess and illustrated by Jean Paul Deshong. Published by Dynamite Comics.
Damsels Mermaids #1
Writer: Sturges, Matthew
Artist: Deshong, Jean-Paul
Cover Artist: Renaud, Paul
On Sale: May 08, 2013
Diamond Id: MAR131018