The general idea behind the series Damsels is thus: they are anything but. They are strong female characters who live in a world of men who are bastards. They are the heroes, they are the ones doing the saving and yes…a series like this has been needed for years. I recently reviewed a one-shot set in this universe and enjoyed it, so how might jumping into part 5 of a 5 part series go? And is it good?
Damsels: Mermaids #5 (of 5) (Dynamite Entertainment)
The story opens in Atlantis, with our heroine trying to save her prince boyfriend. Unfortunately, he’s a total dick and keeps telling her he doesn’t love her and basically punches her in the face. Yet she still loves him, still saves him and is a schmuck for doing so in my opinion. It appears the rulers of Atlantis hold the regular humans under their thumb and Prince John took out the city, sacrificing himself, to save his people. Oh, and our protagonist is a mermaid. On top of that there’s a wizard floating around reading to turn the Little Mermaid into a fish sandwich.
Note the poetry in the narration.
I’ve got to give Matt Sturges some props, he ties this entire issue together with what looks like a love poem. A tragic love poem at that. You can see the start of it above. Considering I jumped into this issue knowing nothing, I was surprised how his poetry narration really pulls things together. It helped disguise the tragedy of the mermaid’s stupid love with Prince John and his ultimate bastardness. It’s also rather well written and exemplifies what many people feel every day: trapped and drowning in love. Somebody get Sturges a beer, because I think he’s been on the wrong end of a bad breakup.
Honey, he’s a lying bastard. Dump his ass!
At the same time, there’s some melodrama here that might make you roll your eyes. A few lines, a few expressions, make you read into it all as a weary soap opera. The conclusion between our heroine and the prince leaves a lot to be desired, but then again, there’s a bit of a twist ending that has some payoff. Again, seeing as I didn’t read the first four issues I was a bit lost on the wizard and some supporting characters, so it’s hard to judge fully, but the general sense I got was a rushing to conclude things.
The art by Jean-Paul Deshong is serviceable to good throughout. There are a few expressions that completely threw me for a loop, but generally things were fluid, which makes sense for a story connected with water. There are some panels where the characters look oddly stretched out though, which again, pulled me out of the story and made me wonder what was going on. The monster at the end completely blew me away however, which makes me want to go back and read the previous issues just to see the designs Deshong has come up with.
Uhhh…and killed a ton of mermaid people, you dick!
- Sick monster at the end!
- Cool structure with the story
- Some odd panels here and there
Is It Good?
Ultimately it’s the poetry that saves this issue. Given I didn’t read the first four issues, and probably lost a lot of the meaning, I still found it powerful due to the narration. I also dug the drama between the heroine and prince, even if there were touches of overt melodrama here and there. Overall an interesting comic because of the structure and its message.