Review - Damsels in Excess #1

"You might be asking yourself by now, "what am I doing fixing my own wheel, and more importantly--what has happened to all the men?"

The saying goes that "women are from Venus and men are from Mars." The idea is that the differences between the two sexes are so great that they might as well be from different planets. What if one of those planets didn't exist though? How would the remaining sex deal with the sudden exodus? Damsels in Excess #1 from Aspen Comics seeks to find out. The issue is written by Vince Hernandez, penciled and colored by Mirka Andolfo, inked by Simone di Meo and lettered by Josh Reed.

In the land of the Five Realms, the existence of men has long since been evaporated from the hearts and minds of women. Princess Bethany--ruler of Evanfar, the largest and most prominent kingdom, finds herself at the center of a vast conspiracy that could not only threaten her kingdom, but also her life. Journey to a place where magic is abundant, unicorns and ferrets can command armies and five women struggle to find balance—and power--in an ever-changing fairy tale world.

While Damsels in Excess #1 is one of the newest books in the Aspen Comics stable, Hernandez is certainly familiar to both the publisher and fans of their books. His work on the book feels much like his work on other books, including Charismagic, in that there's an emphasis on the fantastic. The premise is very intriguing as well, with all traces of man being erased because of one man's lust and dissatisfaction with his wife's affliction. Princess Bethany proves to be pivotal to the entire series as a whole, with the last page offering quite a crazy twist in terms of where the story is going. Most of the issue, Hernandez features all the princesses bickering about their positions. That bickering comes courtesy of a ton of dialogue; something which may be the only slight drawback to the book (there's just so much to read).

Damsels in Excess #1 feels like a fairy tale in some ways and Andolfo's style is very appropriate to fit that dynamic. All of the princesses are illustrated with differing looks and body types that prevent the reader from being confused as to who's who. The princesses are also styled uniquely in ways that reflect the kingdoms they rule, which also offers another dimension to their personalities. Andolfo lays out the panels in a ways that further emphasize where the princesses rule, making full use of the page and not conforming to standard comic layouts. The line style is also very sharp and edged, which makes the book feel like it has something of a polished sketchbook feel to it.

Damsels in Excess #1 starts the series off in a very intriguing way. The concept behind a man's lust inadvertently leading to every other man's destruction is a pretty bold way to start. What's bolder is where the story goes from there. Hernandez clearly has an overarching plot in mind that will definitely need all the issues to be fully fleshed out; the first issue is a little over-ambitious and feels cluttered at times. Andolfo contributes a somewhat fairy inspired art style that's befitting of a fantasy book such as this. Damsels in Excess #1 looks to be starting off on the right foot and will definitely feel more balanced with future issues.

Damsels in Excess #1 is in stores July 23 with interiors below.