A bold take on the “trapped princess” idea, Princeless is an amusing, endearing story. Created by writer, Jeremy Whitley (My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, The Order of Dagonet), and artist, M. Goodwin, Princeless characters are a departure from the “classic tropes” of what a princess is, what a dragon is, and even what a hero is. The first issue is an intelligent mixture of framing a story-arc, fleshing out a setting and satirizing an entire genre of storytelling in the first five pages. Taking a headstrong young princess named Adrienne Ashe and allowing her to point out all the ridiculousness of putting a young girl (who is also your daughter) in a tower, allowing a huge flying, fire-breathing monster to guard her until someone is clever or lucky enough to muddle through a battle, kill said monster, and climb a tower and carry her down to win a right to marry that woman is pretty ridiculous.
As for the main character herself, she has an extraordinary strong will, especially when presenting her views and issues to her mother, who tells her the she is “determined to take everything from [a fairy tale] except what you are supposed to.” While her exploits are explored in more detail in the later issues, I must admit that it takes a fair amount of bravery to get a sword, pull armor off of the corpses of her suitors who failed, and ride her dragon guardian/friend to become a self-appointed knight to go on an adventure. Her will is unshakeable, her mental health…questionable. (Reminder: she is wearing the armor of former suitors.)
The art for this comic is much like that of a storybook, the color choices for the pages are reminiscent of a coloring book, with stylized lines that are a throwback to illustrations of books like Brian Pinkney’s Jojo’s Flying Side Kick. Colors and lighting is given enough detail and the character illustration is given enough attention that panels constantly feel like energy is made. In other words, there are no static scenes.
All-in-all, Princeless #1 is a great read, with a nice take on the “princess-in-the-tower” story. The humor in the story lies in the intelligent lampooning of established genre conventions and in the characterization of the main character. Review of issue 2 is coming soon.
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