Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Modern Day Joan of Arc

Alabaster:  Wolves

by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Illustrated by Steve Lieber and Rachelle Rosenberg

Published by Dark Horse Comics

4 Out of 5 Stars

A petite, albino girl with haunting red eyes and cornsilk hair, Dancy Flammarion seems fragile and ethereal. She's certainly the last person one would expect to be a demon slaying bad ass, but where Dancy goes hell is sure to follow.

I had never heard of Dancy Flammarion before I picked up this title by Dark Horse comics.  Dancy is a modern day Joan of Arc, chosen by a fearsome seraph as a divine tool for annihilating whatever lurks in the shadows.  And this angel didn't fall out of some Nativity scene--with four grimacing faces, batlike wings, and a flaming sword, this angel will not be rendered into a Hallmark figurine anytime soon.  Dancy goes where and does what the angel tells her, but not without a little pushback as Dancy is certainly no shrinking violet.  It's her tendency to rebel that causes her angel to abandon Dancy just when she needs it the most.  Now Dancy's only allies are a talking blackbird, the ghost of a werewolf, and her trusty kitchen knife.

This is a clever storyline as one is never really certain if Dancy is a religious zealot, seeing and believing in what is necessary to unapologetically hack and slash her way through the American South, or is she honestly chosen as heaven's lone soldier?  Dancy herself is cognizant of this conundrum, wondering if she's crazy or perhaps the sanest person on earth.  The answers in the end aren't simple and, while I can't say much for fear of giving anything away, create a challenging and complex character that is more intriguing by the final issue than she was in the first.
My one complaint is that Dark Horse has chosen to continue Dancy's story, but only as part of the Dark Horse Presents anthology, a title I'm not particularly interested in following.  Until Dancy returns in her own title, I think I'll check out Kiernan's Dancy novels for more of my favorite kitchen knife-wielding demon slayer.

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