Spinning out of the Conan Universe, Dark Agnes has one of the strongest starts of a mini-series in this universe, culminating in a world I wish was more than just a mini series.
Agnes is a woman scorned, who seeks retribution for the death of her teacher. As a young girl she was promised to a rich noble, only to be saved by the man who’d be her teacher. When the Duke kills her teacher, she vows to kill one of the most influential people in he land. This takes her on a journey to save her ally Etienne, as they make headway for vengeance.
Compared to the previous Conan mini series, Valeria, this is penned by artist Becky Cloonan, whose writing delivers nostalgic Three Musketeers personalities. Etienne is your typical playboy who gets in trouble for sleeping around, but can hold his own with a sword. Agnes is a charismatic leader who enjoys teasing Etienne and gets into fights constantly. The fact that both characters share similar personalities makes for an interesting dynamic, but we see that Agnes can be serious when she needs to be, and her ability with a pistol and sword are currently unmatched.
As an author without many writing credits to her name, it was hard to know if this would be a worthwhile series, but it’s turned into a surprise story. Compared to a majority of the superhero comics published by Marvel, this mini series has started stronger than the latest Guardians of the Galaxy. Cloonan delivers on comedic tropes that befit the title characters. Seeing the charismatic elements and fights with Agnes, coupled with the dark past; we see a tragic heroine whose quest for revenge will end one of two ways; her death or the Dukes.
This is some of the best character writing I’ve seen, and while the tropes aren’t original, the lack of these kinds of characters in modern comics, makes for a welcomed change of pace. I love how Agnes is portrayed and her banter with Etienne. Both characters deliver a story that is easy to read and fun to watch play out.
This story is worth picking up and reading, and if Cloonan can keep up the pacing, then Marvel needs to hire her for a longer running series around Agnes.