Princeless: Find Yourself #4

87%
87%
Delightfully Entertaining

As it turns out, there is some significant backstory we need to hear in Princeless: Find Yourself #4. Tying it in with the fight is an effective way to do this without feeling like the story temporarily grinds to a halt while we get an information dump. This is a family-oriented story, and I like seeing the mother find her way in – it’s a novel entrance, and her strength doesn’t detract from our main character.

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We learn the story of the Black Knight, even while Adrienne is fighting them – can she best the unbeatable champion?

Princeless: Find Yourself #4PRINCELESS:  FIND YOURSELF #4

Writer: Jeremy Whitley
Artist: Emily Martin
Colorist and Letterer: Brett Grunig
Publisher: Action Lab Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 16, 2019

Previously in Princeless: Find Yourself: Adrienne has found her sister Alize, who is happy, and married, and not in any particular need of rescuing at the moment. Noni and Devin have fled with their injured companions to a healer’s house. Kira almost doesn’t make it, but Tempest uses her Elf magic to save the wolf girl. Alize shows Adrienne her workshop and inventions, and an alarm goes off – a break in the water line! She runs off to fix it, leaving Adrienne with nothing to do to help. Adrienne talks with the Sphinx, and then the Black Knight shows up. At the healer’s house, some soldiers come knocking, and she sends the young people into the basement, where Devin finds a portrait of himself.

THE BLACK KNIGHT’S STORY

While the main plot does move ahead a bit, most of Princeless: Find Yourself #4 is spent filling us in on the story of the Black Knight. What’s nice is that the way it is framed, both halves of the story progress at the same time.

The healer bids good-bye to the soldier who stopped by, a young man who’s actually a pretty good guy. He warns her that the King’s camp was attacked, and there may still be brigands about. Those likely “brigands” are hiding in the basement, and when the healer, Willa, lets them back out, Devin confronts her with his portrait. Not only did she have that picture of him, but she has pictures of his whole family, sisters, mother, etc. He won’t give her any peace until she explains.

As it turns out, the Black Knight was her child. At this point, we cut to the fight between Adrienne and the Black Knight. They face off, and the Black Knight does not speak. Meanwhile, Willa tells us the story of her exceptional child who had strength, speed, and reflexes way ahead of others. Adrienne is finding this out firsthand as the battle is quite a challenging one for her. The Black Knight was always fair, but because of being so much better than anyone else, they ended up left out – left out of play with other kids, leaving school. Then they found a new bunch of friends – the wolves in the area, who were faster, stronger, and a better match.

At that point in the fight, Adrienne manages to get a couple good hits in on the Black Knight, who at least grunts, even if they don’t speak. That grunt isn’t as deep as Adrienne was expecting. The Black Knight also curtseys to her. There are plenty of hints dropped here that we may suspect that the Black Knight is female, but this does not yet occur to Adrienne.

Alize’s jetpack stops working and she calls to Adrienne for help – at least to bring her a ladder. The Black Knight breaks off from fighting Adrienne to leap up into the waterworks toward Alize! Adrienne runs back to the lab to ask Ammar where the ladder is. It’s a tiny expandable ladder, and as she rushes out, he warns her not to be hanging onto it when she activates it. By the time she gets back, the Black Knight has made it up to the top of the pipe. She presses the button on the ladder (while holding onto it, with predictably amusing results).

Meanwhile, the story of the Black Knight has continued. The wolves had a magical suit of black armor that they could not wear, but when the times required, they would select a champion to wear it. There was a rebellion in the kingdom, and Ashe became King. The Black Knight became his champion. Adrienne gets the ladder to Alize, and then she climbs up after the Black Knight. It turns out the ladder wasn’t the only thing she picked up in the lab. She grabbed the inventions Alize showed off last issue and uses them to disarm the Knight, shoot them with the lightning gun, and land safely in a pool of water thanks to the tunneling mechanical fish. (This was set up beautifully.)

Adrienne and Alize go off to find where the Black Knight landed, and this is where we learn that when peace came and there was no role for a Champion, the Knight took on a new role – that of Queen. Alize and Adrienne are stunned to see that the Knight is their mom.

A LONG, DRAMATIC FIGHT

The art of Princeless: Find Yourself #4 is cute and expressive. I like that the older adults have more normal looking faces and expressions, while the younger characters have large eyes and more exaggerated, cartoon-like facial expressions. That exaggeration really sets off the emotions and adds another facet to the drama.

The fight between Adrienne and the Black Knight is also a lot of fun. Each of them have interesting details in their armor (which is also good, practical armor). Since the Black Knight mainly doesn’t talk, there’s a mix of Adrienne talking, and text boxes with Willa’s narration of the story. As the fight goes on, it also just happens to illustrate some of the details of the story. When Willa speaks of her speed and reflexes, she gets in a quick attack on Adrienne and disarms her. When Willa talks of her being clever and funny, she sits on top of Adrienne when she’s down and swats her on the rump with her sword.

It’s truly an entertaining fight, especially with the rescue thrown into the middle of it, which is the perfect excuse to grab the other things from Alize’s workshop. We saw demonstrations of all these gadgets last time around, and they work exactly as we would expect, and it’s a clever way for Adrienne to best her mother. But truly the best scene is when the Queen reveals herself – she is so lovely and noble, and both her daughters are utterly flabbergasted.

BOTTOM LINE: A DELIGHTFULLY ENTERTAINING CHAPTER

As it turns out, there is some significant backstory we need to hear in Princeless: Find Yourself #4. Tying it in with the fight is an effective way to do this without feeling like the story temporarily grinds to a halt while we get an information dump. This is a family-oriented story, and I like seeing the mother find her way in – it’s a novel entrance, and her strength doesn’t detract from our main character.


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About Author

By day, she’s a mild-mannered bureaucrat and Ms. Know-It-All. By night, she’s a dance teacher and RPG player (although admittedly not on the same nights). On the weekends, she may be found judging Magic, playing Guild Wars 2 (badly), or following other creative pursuits. Holy Lack of Copious Free Time, Batman! While she’s always wished she had teleportation as her superpower, she suspects that super-speed would be much more practical because then she’d have time to finish up those steampunk costumes she’s also working on.

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