Noelle Stevenson
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Nov 19, 2015

The wild, unpredictable shapeshifter Nimona has just appointed herself sidekick to archvillain Lord Ballister Blackheart, promising to aid him in his quest to prove to the kingdom that the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics is up to no good.  But NImona doesn't play by the normal rules, and she quickly has everyone in an uproar wondering just who she is and where her mysterious powers come from.

What starts as a whimsical, frivolous parody of traditional heroic notions of good and evil quietly and unexpectedly becomes a meaningful investigation into the concepts, couched in deep characters longing to connect and belong. It's most surprising.

At first the story pokes fun at the stereotypical roles--it begins with protagonist Lord Blackheart fretting over his heroic nemesis Sir Goldenloin--and then subverts them--"You can't just go around murdering people. There are rules." . . . "Isn't that the whole point of being a villain? That you don't have to follow the rules?" But it doesn't stop with merely showing up the roles rules and turning them on their heads, it goes on to rework them as something entirely nuanced and authentic. The character caricatures become real people we get invested in and care about. We realize the apparently sloppy, stylized artwork is communicating subtle complexity and depth of emotion (along with very effective action). And it all happens through the vehicle of Nimona, a teen girl who shows up out of nowhere as a force of chaos that throws everything off its normal tracks. She destroys, but through her destruction new life is found.

This is an out of the ordinary, all too enjoyable bit of fun with plenty of wit, heart, and insight.          

Reviewed by Chris K.
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