I did a review of the very first issue of Ladycastle when it came out, as well as an interview of writer Delilah S. Dawson. I loved issue one and couldn't wait to read the rest...but of course, as happens, life got in the way and I didn't get a chance to review the whole collection--until now.
What the heck was I waiting for?
Issue one was a great set up, and the rest of the four issue series delivers perfectly on any expectations I had. Ladycastle is a standalone, four issue story that is now collected in a single volume via Boom Studios. When all the men of the castle are killed by a dragon and leave the rest of the population under a curse, the women take up arms to defend themselves, and learn about themselves as individuals, and what life is like out from under the shadows of the men. The story looks at a lot of issues, such as independence, identity, abuse, strength, emotions, different abilities, body image, etc, in such a way that it's part of the story. The messages aren't heavy-handed but are definitely there. Yet, story trumps all, and readers will love the women of Ladycastle right off the bat for their unique personalities and personal struggles that are very relatable. Characters learn lessons such as, "I don't have to be something for someone else," and "I don't have to be hidden away because I'm different," and "Killing everything isn't always the solution." Yet there is a definite fun thread running through the entire storyline which makes this a very enjoyable read even while it's moving and inspiring.
One fun thing about the comic? The Easter eggs. Between Monty Python, Hamilton, Disney, and more, as well as the varying degrees of toilet humor, there are plenty of laughs and fun moments between the serious ones to really make this a perfect story for any mood. The characters make great company, and like I've said about other comics as well, it's very refreshing to see positive relationships between women happening more in fiction and comics. Life isn't a competition, people don't have to be catty and bitchy to each other. Ladycastle is a great example of this. The women support each other, and find strength together.
Do yourself a favor and grab this comic for yourself, your daughters, your sons. It really is a comic for everyone!
Melanie R. Meadors is a writer of fantasy stories and comics, her work most recently appearing in the anthologies Champions of Aetaltis and Kaiju Rising II: Reign of Monsters. She is the co-director of the Gen Con Writer's Symposium and the publisher at Outland Entertainment. Melanie also edits anthologies, including Hath No Fury, Knaves: A Blackguards Anthology, and Tales of Excellent Cats: A Monarchies of Mau Anthology, which is set in the world of the popular role playing game, Pugmire. She is a content editor and publicity specialist at the RPG game company Mechanical Muse, and has written game settings for the RPGs Tiny Dungeons 2e and Tiny Frontiers 2e. She is a blogger and general b*tch monkey at The Once and Future Podcast. You can learn more atmelaniermeadors.com