Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.My book club has our own little informal lending library, so when Rachel got this one, it immediately made the rounds. I think it was one of the fastest pass-arounds we've had, because all of us loved it and were excited to read it.
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.
First of all, it's just beautiful to look at. I love Stevenson's style (you may recognize the similarities to the cover of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, which was drawn by Stevenson) and use of color throughout. It's just a pleasure to see and experience. I'm not a graphic novel or comics expert, but I know that the art style is what immediately either draws me in or cases me to pass something by, and this one had a visual appeal I couldn't resist.
Not only is it pretty to look at, it's also so new and original. There are so many twists on the typical superhero cartoon that make it refreshing and exciting. Our hero is actually a sidekick, and not just any sidekick - the sidekick to a supervillain. And that supervillain? Has a secret love for the "hero" of the novel, Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, his onetime best friend. And do not even get me started on how much I LOVE that Nimona is a shapeshifter who could choose to take on any form, but keeps returning to the form of a girl, and not a traditionally beautiful girl. I feel like Stevenson subtly subverts all of the traditional superhero tropes, but does it in such a lighthearted way that it never feels like an attack on comics stereotypes. Instead it feels like a natural extension.
This is one that I'm eventually going to need to own myself in print, just so I can pull it off the shelf and thumb through it every now and then and enjoy its beauty. I highly recommend finding a copy in whatever format and giving it a try. It's a great starting point for those who are new to comics or for those who have read a lot of comic and graphic art, but are looking for a new spin on an old format.
Thanks to Rachel for passing her copy around to all of us!