A disgraced knight. A princess trapped in a ruined castle. It’s a familiar story. Only, this time, what if the princess shouldn’t be saved? What if she’s there for a reason?
Translated from French, NBM Graphic Novels presents Darkly She Goes from the creative team of Hubert and Vincent Mallié—a dark fantasy epic about family legacy, reputation, and redemption. The story begins with the Arzhur, a knight long since fallen out of favor who spends his time drinking and fighting in between taking whatever job will put coin in his pocket. When three strange, old women approach him with a job, Arzhur is intrigued by their promise—rescue the missing princess of a neighboring kingdom and regain his honor. It is the opportunity he has waited for.
However, upon rescuing the princess, Arzhur learns that her exile was self-imposed. The young woman is filled with dark power from her mother’s inhuman bloodline. She fears the damage she might cause her kingdom as well as well as the risk of becoming a pawn in the power struggle between her parents. With her guardians slain, and Arzhur sworn to defend her, she must find a new place of safety. But the princess’s history is full of lies and the path to safety is not unclear. As she and Arzhur draw closer, their desperate search for redemption may not be enough to shelter them from the truths of their pasts. As war rekindles, ruin bears down on them from every direction, with the princess caught in the middle and many bloody corpses scattered across two kingdoms.
Hubert is undeniably a writer who understands the fantasy and mythological traditions this story emerges from. Familiar elements take a unique spin as the adventure moves across two kingdoms, through forest, field, and city, in a story that captures epic scope and a deep emotional core in a single volume. Where some graphic novels struggle to capture a novel’s-worth of narrative in a limited number of pages, Darkly She Goes delivers events that span years, incorporating politics and fantasy alongside more personal storylines—all with the elaborate detail and complexity readers of the genre have come to expect. There are a few key story beats that falter in their delivery, and the plot ultimately ends in a familiar place with few surprises. However, Hubert has nevertheless crafted a sweeping tale with lots of dark fantasy adventure, flawed characters, and complex themes.
As compelling as the story of Darkly She Goes may be, it is the art that truly shines. From the floods of shadowy vermin summoned by the princess’s magic, across the landscapes of two kingdoms, and into each emotional encounter that brings the heroes to the edge of either ruin or salvation, Mallié delivers consistent visuals that bring the story to life, echoing the style and imagery of classic fantasy tales that have come before. As witches leap unnaturally across the kingdom or Arzhur and the princess Islen confess their pasts by firelight, Mallié renders the emotional, the fantastic, and horrific of the journey in rich and sometimes stunning detail. One of the joys of epic fantasy is the vastness of the world, and this one comes to life in Mallié’s hands.
NBM recommends this title for mature audiences and with graphic violence, sex and nudity, and mature themes, that rating feels accurate. It’s nothing mature teens couldn’t handle, but it’s a book aimed at readers of adult fantasy. Audiences need to be ready for the darker elements and themes, and also to not expect anything groundbreaking for those familiar with the genre—but with those caveats, this dark fantasy story delivers a complex narrative with rich visuals that’s worth taking the time to explore.
Darkly She Goes
Art by Vincent Mallié
Publisher Age Rating: M
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+)
Creator Representation: French