Dragons, Shapeshifters, jousting knights and Science, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Meet Nimona, star of her own award winning web comic turned graphic novel written and created by the very rad Noelle Stevenson. You may recognise her strikingly expressive style from everybody's favourite girl scouts the Lumberjanes.
Set in a magical-medieval-science-kingdom complete with kooky scientists, monsters and yummy churros stands. Because if there's any way to my heart it's Churros(just another reason why I love Nimona) also, she has pink hair (some would say I’m biased), is a shape shifter and works hard at what she loves, even if it is villainy. So, what does any good shape-shifting villain do when honing her skills? Team up with the most sinister evil-doer in town, and his name is Lord Blackheart. But you see, Lord Blackheart has one very specific drive for his bad ways, and that’s to exact revenge on the beautiful Sir Goldenloin, once friend now foe. Probably because Sir Goldenlion says weird things like “Unhand that Science” and “What would you have me do? Stop the peasants from getting sick?”.
What begins are small and uneventful acts of villainy against the royal family and it’s institution, soon boil into an extremely horrific battle where nobody is safe. Nimona is not who she appears on the surface, there are many things hidden in her dark and foggy past, this multi-levelled character development was unexpected, but quite rewarding. Could her unpredictable and over the top nature make things worse for Lord Blackheart? These questions hooked me in and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout my first read-through.
Noelle has a very distinct art style. Each character is wonderfully simple but filled with so much character. From the little raised eyebrow on Nimona’s face when she’s in a poopy mood, to Sir Goldenlion’s golden locks moving ever so slightly as as dragon flies above. The colours are so vibrant with defined pencil outline. It’s quirky, stylised and very welcoming.
What begins as a weird and wonderful tale of a father daughter type relationship between Blackheart and Nimona deepens to themes of forcing change, acceptance of people’s faults and morality. When I began the comic I thought I was reading a simple and fun fantasy comic, but in her trademark style, Noelle weaves a story that matures into literary territory with its complex themes.
As I read the final chapter on the way home after a long day I felt tears well in my eyes. Nimona hit a very personal note for me, ie: The inability to change an aspect of someone to save a relationship. And I realised that what I first perceived to be a simple fantasy comic was able to vocalise certain feelings and thoughts what I had been hiding for so long in my own life. The ending of this graphic novel is so perfect, so emotionally draining, so heartfelt that I feel I will carry it’s message with me for a very long time.
Nimona surprised me at every page turn as it’s constantly changing the rules, deconstructing the Young-Adult Fantasy genre with a more mature approach while still giving the fun and excitement we expect from these stories. A touching and thought-provoking story filled with science, magic and dragons. I feel so deeply for Nimona and I feel that this isn't the last we will see of Nimona and I can't wait to see where this journey takes us.