Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Everyone knows the story. Princess gets trapped in a castle. Girl is guarded by a dragon. One day her prince will come. Prince comes and slays the dragon. Prince saves the girl. They marry and live happily ever after. Variations of this formula have polluted the minds of children for years, and Disney has made a killing off of it. I’m not taking a shot at Disney, I love the hell out of their animated movies, but it’s a tired formula. Why can’t the Princess just save herself? In Princeless, as the title might suggest, that’s exactly what happens. Hit the jump for more!
Princeless Volume 2: Get Over Yourself
Written by Jeremy Whitley
Art by Emily Martin
Colors by Kelly Lawrence
The first volume, entitled Save Yourself, introduced us to the plucky Adrienne. After being trapped in a castle by her father, she befriended her dragon guardian, Sparky, and decided to free herself. She frames her own death and sets out on an adventure to save the rest of her sisters from her father’s ludicrous plan for a son-in-law.
As Volume 2: Get Over Yourself opens, Adrienne, Sparky, and her dwarf blacksmith friend Bedelia are journeying to rescue Adrienne’s sister Angelica, the most beautiful girl in all of the kingdom; however, Adrienne’s journey is about to hit a few bumps. The King has hired the greatest knights in all of the land to kill Adrienne’s murderer. Unfortunately, that happens to be Adrienne.
Whereas the first volume took jabs at the fairy tale genre’s helpless princess problems, the second volume continues that and touches on issues of beauty. For example, why should being beautiful be considered a job? You don’t exactly do anything. You just stand there and look pretty while people fawn over you right and left. It’s something that Angelica and Adrienne’s encounter touches on and I loved the issues it brought up.
The fairy tale parody genre has also been done many times, but it always feels a little heavy handed. Writers usually can’t tell when to pump the breaks. In the first volume, Whitley managed to walk a very tight line and crafted likable characters without insulting past writers. The second issue continues the parody angle while setting up some branching stories that will pay off in later volumes. One plot thread featuring the King is particularly interesting.
The artist for Princeless switched between Volume 1 and 2. Picking up the mantle this time is Emily Martin. The art style fits the cheerful cartoony vibe of the story with vibrant colors by Kelly Lawrence. Each character is distinct and the action sequences are energetic and easy to follow. Heck, sometimes the art is even even gorgeous (I loved the curse monster), but it feels like something is missing. One of the key parts of the first volume was the expressive art created by Goodwin. The multitude of expressions shown by the characters was astounding. It helped to flesh out every person. If Martin can nail the expressions that Goodwin created with each character, I won’t miss the change too much.
Another problem I have arises in the male characters. Princeless is focused on having strong female characters, but that doesn’t mean the males have to be relentlessly stupid or ruthless. The knights are chauvinistic pigs; the bard is an idiot; and most other male characters are just worthless. Come on, not all guys are bad. I know girls are misrepresented in comics most of the time that doesn’t mean Princless has to do it the other way around. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
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