Mild Spoilers Ahead
Etienne Villiers is to be executed publicly in Chinon, France today (1521 A.D). Things are looking dire for Etienne until his executioner is revealed to actually be his close friend, Agnes de Chastillion, aka Dark Agnes! She frees Etienne and the two fight their way through the magistrate’s guard. They receive some help from the crowd, all of whom also hate the ruling Duke D’ Alencon. Agnes and Etienne flee Chinon and make it to a nearby village where they enter into a tavern for the night. There, Agnes reflects on her past and what has led her to this moment in her life.
Dark Agnes #1 is a fast-moving and swashbuckling adventure set in 16th Century France. Agnes and Etienne make for a delightful duo of dashing heroes who thumb their nose at the aristocracy as much as possible. They’re outlaws in an unjust society, so they rebel and revel as often as they can–for who knows what tomorrow may bring.
Much of the comic consists of sword-fighting and one-liners, though there are more dour moments where we focus on Agnes’ constant rage and inability to process her past traumas. We get some flashbacks to said trauma, and we get a decent idea of what happened to her.
There is a weird moment where Etienne takes a drunk and passed-out Agnes to her tavern room and tucks her in. While this is supposed to be an act of kindness on his part, and he doesn’t do anything untoward to Agnes, the framing and dialogue makes it look like he’s about to do something vile. It was an odd and off-putting moment in the book.
Luca Pizzari gives the book a fantastic visual design. Instead of going with the rustic and weathered aesthetic of many period comics, Pizarri provides a sleek and modern look that plays well with the ample action and energy of the book. It looks great and Jay David Ramos’ bright color work makes it look even better.
Dark Agnes #1 is a fun and charming first issue for this mini-series. Becky Cloonan along with Pizzari and Ramos provide a thoroughly entertaining outlaw adventure where we get a feel for our lead characters and their histories while the book maintains a good pacing. It easily earns a recommendation. Check it out.
Dark Agnes #1 comes to us from writer Becky Cloonan, artist Luca Pizarri, color artist Jay David Ramos, letterer VC’s Travis Lanham, cover artist Stephanie Hans, and variant cover artists Becky Cloonan; and Alan Davis.
Final Score: 8/10