Thursday, January 24, 2013

Princeless Book One: Save Yourself by Jeremy Whitley, art by M. Goodwin

Like her older sisters, when she turns 16 Adrienne is placed in a tower guarded by a dragon and forced to wait to be rescued by a prince.  But when Adrienne discovers a sword hidden under her bed, she decides to change her own story.  Teaming up with her guardian dragon, Sparky, Adrienne escapes from her tower and sets off to free her sisters.

This was awesome.  In all different ways.  First of all, people of color! Yay!  A whole family of Black princesses! Bedelia, who befriends Adrienne and joins her on her adventure, is white, as is the pathetic prince who tried to rescue Adrienne and ended up running from the dragon.  So far there haven't been any characters of color beside Adrienne and her family, but I have high hopes.

Next, seriously kick ass female characters.  We have Adrienne and Bedelia, who are both doing something that is not typical for woman and have gotten tired of hiding it.  Adrienne has decided she's not going to wait around to be rescued for her life to start, and does it herself.  Bedelia is a blacksmith, but has been letting everyone think that it's her father that does the work, because who would buy armor from a girl?  Bedelia make Adrienne some amazing armor, and then joins her on her quest.

When Adrienne first comes into Bedelia's shop and asks to see the armor, Bedelia shows her the "Women Warrior Collection," which is made up of the stereotypical bikini tops and bottoms.  Clearly harkens back to Xena and Wonder Woman.  Adrienne wonders why armor for woman couldn't be like armor for men, only fit for a woman.  The Woman Warrior armor is so revealing, it would be easy to get killed.  Bedelia thinks about this, agrees, and proceeds to make not a costume, but armor for a warrior women.  Thank you, Jeremy Whitley, you are awesome.

On top of this, it's a good story.  Sparky burns down Adrienne's tower, so her parents think she's dead and have sent knights out to kill the dragon.  Adrienne first heads back to her father's castle to get her little sister, only to discover she's already been taken away somewhere.  Adrienne's brother, Devin, is at odds with his father, who does not think he is fit to be king.  Devin is the only one who knows Adrienne is really alive.  When this first book ends, Adrienne and Bedelia are headed off to rescue Adrienne's sister Angelica.

For the most part the layout was typical comic layout of mostly regularly panels.  It did break of out of this at times, in particular when there was fight scenes, which made these scenes especially striking.  I liked the art, it fit well with the fantasy story.  In terms of representations of woman, the female characters seen so far all pretty much have the same body type - slim, even Bedelia, who's part dwarf and super strong.  Hey, you can't have everything.

Overall, awesome!

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