Review: LADYCASTLE #1

LADYCASTLE #1
Written by Delilah S. Dawson
Art by Ashley A. Woods
Published by BOOM! Studios
Release date: January 25, 2017

*SPOILER WARNING*

In a world filled with medieval ideals, the women of Ladycastle step up to the plate when they’re land is in danger in Ladycastle!

Dawson does wonderfully in this first issue of the miniseries. She poses the stereotypes and breaks them as the story progresses, subverting the tropes of an average medieval fantasy. She fights the poisonous parts of masculinity and proves through the actions of her characters that such ideas are unneeded. While I’d say the message she sends in this first issue alone is way more important than anything else in the comic, the characters are also wonderfully written, especially Merinor.

Woods’ art is stunning and fits perfectly with the atmosphere created by Dawson’s writing. It fits with a medieval setting, yet it’s off. There’s this tinge of chaos, this wondrous sense of rebellion in the face of what would be expected of a medieval fantasy. Panels like the “Pet my snake and bake and dream of anarchy”, the song about the villagers, or when Aeve talks to Hagatha bring out the distinct difference. It’s spectacular.

The training scene stands out to me above all.

Women in knight’s armor standing in front of an older man. He tries to tell them how to be knights. These women he would have called girls, these women he’d think this task would be impossible for if he had not been pressured to agree to training them. Each face is distinct. One yawns. Another is distracted by a butterfly. One stares intensely at the man. A sea of faces showing the different types of women who want to protect their land.

“Listen up, me—ladies! Chivalrous conduct means bravery, courtesy, honor, and gallantry toward…er…yourselves.”

He’s still trying to wrap his mind around the idea. It’s hard to push through a lifetime of thinking.

“You must be strong!”

He stands as he watches a young woman do pull-ups. She yells indignantly at the assumption.

“I am! You try hauling a bucket full of books up a tower everyday!”

“You must learn how to fight!”

His posture has changed. It is not as righteous. There’s more attention to the woman, as if ideas are starting to click in his mind, as if he’s starting to see past what he was once taught. She yells back.

“Does verbal sparring with my sister count?”

He stands beside himself. He seems…to understand. He sees a leader in this woman. He sees a true knight. He lets her teach the class. She sits gallantly on her horse.

“The trick to riding astride? Put all your weight in your arse.”

There’s a sense of understanding. The man grows with his students, his students become teachers themselves to him. Respect is forged. Ideas of the past—diminished to a realm of ignorance. Only the truth stands now, and that truth is that that woman is the “greatest and bravest of knights”.

Read this comic.

The Verdict: 10/10

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