A lot of comics are aimed at specific audiences, and although we here at Major Spoiler try our best to be open-minded, sometimes we’re just not in the group that the comic is trying to reach. Today’s example: Princeless, a comic aimed mostly at preteen girls. It may surprise you to learn that there are few preteen girls in the old Major Spoiler Bullpen. It’s true. So I asked my daughter, Alicia, aged 10, for her thoughts on the book. I’ll add my thoughts (in parentheses) to clarify or add context but her opinions are her own. Will this work, or will it be another thing for her future therapist to help her get over? Find out after the jump.
Previously in Princeless: Fed up with being stuck in a tower, where almost every fairy–tale princess seems to find themselves, the princess Adrienne escapes with her faithful, dog–like dragon Sparky, on a quest to find and free her sisters (who are in similar towers). Along the way, she meets Bedelia, a blacksmith who joins them on their adventure. Together they are being pursued by the King’s men, after the King mistakes Adrienne for a knight who has killed Adrienne, and who he suspects of trying to murder her youngest sister Appleonia.
(Note: This is a new number 1, starting a new story arc in the ongoing story. I know publishers love to slap a “#1” on everything, but I wish they had at given this a different title, at least a “Princeless: Malibu Nights” to differentiate. Rest assured, it’s not a relaunch, but a continuation of the ongoing story. Also, this issue is coming out in FEBRUARY 2013. But if you want to pick up a copy you may need to let your friendly neighborhood comic shop know to put in their previews order now. Such is the plight of the indy publisher and the reason we’re reviewing this in advance.)
SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WON’T COME
This issue begins with the King raising the stakes by summoning the best knights and princes in the land to a quest to find and kill the non-existent knight, that’s really Adrienne. These knights each have their own unique character, from the dwarf who wins eating competitions, to the elephant hunter who wears a lion as a headdress, to the gentle knight who tames beast by touching them. Meanwhile, Adrienne and Bedelia cross paths with an annoying poet who tells them of how he’s on a quest to find his lady love.
My favorite character was probably Bedilia even though she’s not the main character because she can be funny once in a while. She never seems to be very serious. Some of the other characters, especially the king, are very serious and dark. Bedilia lightens the story and makes it more fun. She never seems stressed about anything, even when her dad’s shop got burned down she shrugs it off.
In a classic fairy-tale story, there’s a princess stuck in a tower, waiting for a prince, etc. but Princeless it’s sort of putting a twist on that. A rather large twist. And I think it was a good idea. Because, although there are other stories with the same premise, Princeless has a more complicated plot. It has more characters and sets up a good adventure that’s still rather easy to follow.
I rather like the fact that she was a princess. I’m not really into that “princess thing” but I like that she didn’t really want to be a princess. It made her stand out. She just didn’t want to do what other princess did she wanted to be different because she was different. She didn’t just want to blend in.
There wasn’t much not to like about this issue. Although, I think you need to have read the previous issues to follow what’s going on. It starts in the middle of things and you might not know what is going on or who everyone is. (Dad disagrees. For completists, you will want to read the previous volume, but I wouldn’t say that it’s necessary.)
THE ART FORMERLY KNOWN AS PRINCEless
The art was good. I especially like how they drew Sparky. She looked more like a massive shih tzu dog–more furry than looking like a lizard. She just looks friendly and the fact that she was pink helped. She was more cartoony than some big, ugly, fierce dragon. But if she’s in a bad mood, she’s still a big dragon and will chase people and eat them if she’s really hungry.
The faces are kind of like anime, with big eyes and abstract mouth shapes. I’m not a huge fan of anime, but I like how the faces were drawn here.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A Revolution for the New Power Generation
I give Princeless V2 #1 four and a half stars—I liked it.
(Adult wrap-up: Princeless is a fairy tale for kids but doesn’t pretend to be anything else. There are some story elements that will catch young readers by surprise but seem obvious to adults. Still, the funny parts are still funny and the characters are interesting if neither grim nor gritty. There’s a theme of feminism and backlash against old, patriarchal stories that might seem heavy-handed but that Alicia barely noticed. It’s just a matter of course to her that the princess would be the hero of the story and that she would stand up to the male figures that would tell her who to be. Hopefully that means that sexual equality is… let’s say improving.)
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!