Friday, February 28, 2014

Straight Forward Reviews : PRINCELESS Vol 1

This review is from the original release of the first volume of Princeless. Read on for an addendum.

This week the first volume of Princeless is the subject for review. Written by Jeremy Whitley with art and colors by M. Goodwin. A drastic change from last week's graphic novel review The Monkey King,  Princeless is an all ages affair. How well does it stack up?

Review by by Jeremias de Leon


Princeless follows the heroine Adrienne as she quests with her dragon Sparky, and, later a half dwarf named Bedelia Smith, to rescue her sisters who are locked in towers, after deciding to save herself from the tower she was locked in. In a nutshell that is the story. But here's a little bit of backstory to add onto that. Adrienne's father is the king of the land, called Ashland, and he locks up his daughters in tall towers that are guarded by mythical beasts. In the world for this story princes are trained and princesses are locked up in towers by their parents in the hopes, at least for the parents, that the prince that rescues them is a strong man that can be a strong heir.
On top of the plot of Adrienne rescuing her sisters there's also a lot of satire directed at stereotypes in Disney and Disney like princess movies and action comics that feature a female protagonist. The rest of this paragraph will give examples. In the first issue Adrienne's skin color is brought up when the prince who tries to rescue her asks where the “fair maiden Adrienne” is and she responds that fair means white and adds “does this look fair to you?” There's also a fairy tale that Adrienne is being read to that tells of a “blonde-haired, blue-eyed princess” that was the “loveliest in all the land.” Later on in issue three after meeting Bedelia, Adrienne gets a tour of the “Woman Warriors Collection” that features armors that parody certain famous warrior women. Satirizing the fact that the trend with what are supposed to be strong warrior women are that they all have large bust sizes and wear next to nothing, which of course, wouldn't be practical in combat.


To start off the commentary on the art, the character designs are simple, but brilliant. They aren't drawn with complex, photo realistic features, or extremely detailed clothes and shadows, but they are drawn with personality. Every time any of the characters faces are shown on panel, one can see exactly what emotion they are feeling. Their body types also say a lot, Adrienne's dad the king is intimidating because he is drawn as a very large man that is made of muscle. Bedelia looks like she's clearly used to doing hard work at her family's blacksmith shop with her athletic body.

Besides the character designs the bright colors, lighting, and effects like fire are all done in a way that clearly sets the mood of the panel. The simple designs and lustrous colors work very well for the action scenes.


This is where Princeless shines. Whitley knows how to write complex, engaging characters. The main character, Adrienne is a very sharp witted girl. She questions why things are the way they are, and with her unwittingly placed in a tower the reader can feel why she has the drive to rescue herself and her sisters. Her brother Devin, is a meek young man who has no interest in becoming a warrior. It's understandable why he would risk himself to help his sister. The half dwarf Bedelia has a lot of troubles at the blacksmith shop she works at so it's understandable that she'd want to leave and join Adrienne. Plus, something happened to the shop and she wouldn't want to stick around anyway.

Each character has motives that are relatable, and each one feels like that they truly do have their own personality. They are definitely not handsome man, or sexy woman number 5089D. They really do feel like real people and when they feel like real people the dialog is a treat to read and the reader can understand why they end up in the situations they do, or why they take the actions they take. After reading these four issues it's hard not to become attached to the characters.


Princeless is an entertaining, clever and eye catching comic series that anyone in any age range can enjoy. The characters are witty, the art is colorful, and the plot is easy to follow without feeling like it's insulting anyone's intelligence.

This comic series gets a 9.5 out of 10.

Yes, it is that good. 

These first four issues were re-released as "Encore Edition" with the final issue of volume 1 re-released on February 26, 2014. The contents are still the same with a variant cover by John "Super Ugly" Williams. If you haven't bought these before now's a chance to get them with a nice extra variant cover.

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