By Dustin Cabeal
Whether Lady Castle was planned to be bi-monthly or if there was a delay between issue one and two is unknown to me. What is known, is that after two months I had very little memory of Lady Castle and barely any interest in reviewing the issue. Having bitten firmly down on the bullet, though, here we are, and you know what? Lady Castle is alright.
Much like with the first issue the story is chaotic and all over the place. Is this a fantasy story taking a look at empowering women in an era in which they would have been minimalized? Sure, but while it looks at that, it doesn’t go deeper than the surface level of that. Occasionally there will be something deeper, but it’s more in the vein of character development. For instance, there’s a terribly written song from the King’s POV as she deals with the doubt and loneliness of her new position of power. It’s great for a moment, but then nothing else comes from it, and it’s never visited again in the issue. Instead of seeing something to reaffirm her feelings or set them aside, she just returns to being the character we saw in the first issue. It’s moments like this that come close to being deep but lack any follow up.
This go around, the kingdom is faced with werewolves. Once again, they come up with a clever plan at the hands of the former Princess Aeve. The outcome arrives too easily. It wasn’t nearly as clever as the first issue in which kindness and thought were used to solve the problem, but rather a simple solution to a dangerous problem. Then it was on to the next problem as the issue teases. Meanwhile, there was no character development for Aeve, who still seems to be the main character. Her sister is still quite insufferable and completely ignorant of others feelings but complains plenty about her feelings being ignored. Let’s all just wait for her to do something selfish and stupid because that seems to be the only point of her character.
The writing has good moments, but there’s plenty of clunky moments and poor attempts at humor. There are jokes that are just not landing, not even in the bad pun department. The story seems bigger than four issues, which might explain why it’s just not quite working in this format. As it is, there’s a lot of missed opportunities with the characters, the plot and the pacing.
Much like the writing, there’s a lot of inconsistencies with the artwork as well. On one page the King is illustrated with wonderful detail, particularly in the hands and face. A few panels later Aeve’s face lack a lot of detail, and her eyebrows are doing this weird Groucho Marx thing. Your eyes can bounce between these two panels, and it makes for a glaring inconsistency. Sadly, the entire issue continues like this, bouncing between a lot of detail to lacking details. After a while, you’ll be un-phased by the art, but that is not a statement to undermine my previous by showing I’m being picky. Rather, the art is just less enjoyable and not worth as much attention.
I don’t hate this idea. I like that it’s not just a rehash of Action Lab’s Princeless, but it's lacking in a lot of ways. The biggest thing is that it’s not providing enough entertainment to make all the other problems fade into the background. Even with two issues left, I don’t see myself coming back for another chapter of Lady Castle. It’s just okay, but when has “okay” been enough to keep trying something? No one wants an okay burger, or decent ice cream, we want great or damn good. Well, I want the same from my comics, and right now Lady Castle is just alright.
Lady Castle #2