by Victoria Irwin
Hidden amidst the beautifully detailed ruins of a lost underwater city, we discover a beautiful and nameless mermaid, hell bent on getting herself killed. Tormented by a love story gone bad, she has been stripped of her name and exiled. After taunting a shark and almost being killed, a crew of Selkies (shape-shifter seals that become human) rescue her and give her warning that she must learn to care for herself again. Wandering the ocean, she encounters a kindred spirit in the abandoned accused traitor John. John has been betrayed for speaking out against the Hieromancers of Atlantis. The Hieromancers are a race of wizard-like humans in charge of keeping balance. Discovering our nameless mermaid has no love for Hieromancers either, the two exiles come up with a plan to take revenge.
Matt Sturges creates the character of a very angry young mermaid focused on causing as much pain to herself and others as possible. It’s like watching a teenager who has just broken up with her boyfriend, but somehow has mystical powers. The story is classic, but has a seemingly modern attitude. I was delighted to discover that Sturges included the myth of the selkie. The character of John seems very resigned in his initial state, but happy to be plotting once his revenge seems more like a lightly outcome.
Jean Paul Deshong’s illustrations are intensely beautiful and fluid. The lines are wonderfully done and give the work a mythical romantic feel. While John is portrayed in warm colors and highlights, the nameless mermaid is given cooler colors and dark shadows. The coloration blends beautifully between the two characters giving the panels they are into together a feeling of visual harmony.
Through pirates, mermaids and various other creatures, the world of Damsels Mermaids uses this episode to begin it’s five part tale. If you like your mermaids more vicious and less Disney, your wizards wicked and your selkies sexy, this comic is certainly for you.