On the heels of a successful 2020 Kickstarter campaign, Andrew (Béte Noir) Clemson’s Damsel From D.I.S.T.R.E.S.S #1 is now heading out to its pledges and with a copy making it’s way to the Pipedream cupboard, we thought we’d see if it is worth saving or if the Dragon should just be let loose on it.
Publisher: Bincat Press
Writer: Andrew Clemson
Artist: Mauricio Mora (Art), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Letters)
Damsel From D.I.S.T.R.E.S.S. follows the story of Bec, an eponymous ‘Damsel’ for a medieval organisation called D.I.S.T.R.E.S.S. (we’ll let you read the book to find out what stands for!) When an encounter during a mission with a young Knight provides her with an insight into her missing father (the man whose ideals she has grown up to follow) Bec is unable to dwell too much as she is assigned to a mission for the Dwarven empire. However, can Bec maintain a personal and professional distance when she begins to suspect there is more to her father’s disappearance, and subsequent reappearance, than meets the eye.
Andrew Clemson has created an exciting and witty story within the pages of Damsel, one that I enjoyed far more than I ever expected. As the title would seem to suggest, Damsel is very much the mash up of pop culture’s greatest spies like James Bond, the Man from U.N.C.L.E. and even Charlie’s Angels – but all set in the world of Grimm’s Fairytales. These concepts are best shown through the eclectic cast of characters with Bec coming across as being a very suave and engaging lead in a Bond or Napoleon Solo fashion.
However, Bec has a much more can-do attitude, playing off of character’s presumptions over a woman’s ability to overcome her obstacles in a Charlie’s Angel vibe. This comparison continues with her amphibian employer, Croaker, giving a very ‘Charlie’ feel while Unwanted sidekick Dave provides a very Bosley-esque comedy foil. Other characters, such as Bonecrusher, are also introduced but while their appearances are short, their presence provides intrigue into their future influence of the story, especially upon the reveal of the cliffhanger twist.
As for the art, Mauricio Mora turns in some gorgeous sequentials from beginning to end. His style throughout this issues is very much reminiscent and imbues a look of the series Superfreaks by Margaux Saltel and artist Stephen Byrne’s work respectively. This works in Damsel’s favour as it really helps sell the light-hearted, action and fun of the comic with a vibrant and expressive look that is so elegantly drawn.
Of course, given the vibe the story gives off, this story is still action aplenty and Mora’s work more than matches the level needed as he offers up some kinetic-looking panels where needed, which are brought to life with help of the explosively visible sound effect lettering from Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou who also provides his (as always) fine work on the words throughout.
Damsel From D.I.S.T.R.E.S.S. is a fun and exciting comics with an enticing upbeat lead, an intriguing supporting cast and gorgeous visuals. It’s a glorious mix of styles and concepts, that continues to surprise you on every page. The whole thing is packed full of wit and invention that makes it a wonderful distraction from the seriousness of the world around us. Andrew Clemson and Mauricio Mora have produced some great work here as they subvert the classic character stereotypes and poke fun at them and I for one look forward to more of the same in future issues. This is one series which is well worth rescuing – or rather being rescued by!