Once upon a time, in a castle full of plot-holes there lived the princess Adrienne... who thought fairytales were hogwash and could take care of herself. Who needs a prince? Adrienne is happily princeless.
Definitely a story targeted towards younger audiences (and tomboys like myself), Princeless #1 is a great first issue with few faults other than the art styles occasional quirks and the second side-story featured in this issue.
The story opens with a queen reading her daughter a fairytale which literally came out of the clichéd fairy tale book: princess needs rescuing, prince slays dragon, princess and prince live happily ever after. This opening is wonderfully clichéd in every way that it is trying to be and has great artwork to go with it that is exaggerated in a fairy tale way, perfectly fitting the storyline.
All of the artwork by M. Goodwin had very deliberate styles that were sifted between. The opening storybook art quickly switched from the standard fantasy portrayal to Adrienne's world, which looks like a Saturday morning cartoon (Scott Pilgrim style), fitting the satirical stance of the issue.
The switch to Adrienne's cartoonish "real-world" with her complaining about the stories plot holes is great, with the change in art style immediately apparent. Adrienne is a character you quickly like because of her insistence to be independent: she does not have much characterization past "I want to save myself," but for a first issue the portrayal of her is handled well and I can definitely relate to her character... maybe not with the being locked up in a tower part or being besties with a dragon... but her attitude has me pegged pretty well.
The storyline is also great because of its simplicity and uniqueness. The fact that Adrienne doesn't want a prince is not too new a concept, but the fact that she teams up with the dragon guarding her tower to save her other six sisters is. The course the story is going to take is also quickly set-up in this issue. The only downfall is that where the story is going to go is very obvious. But when hasn't there been a non-foreseeable happy ending?
The best dynamic in the issue is Adrienne's relationship with the dragon guarding her. She can perfectly understand her dragon's growls (which surprisingly Adrienne doesn't point out is a plot hole), and the friendship between the two feels oddly natural and extremely unique.
The tone of the story is also overwhelmingly consistent throughout the entire issue. Princeless is a very humorous take on fairy tale lore that has no serious moments. This is perfectly summed-up on a one-page spread where Adrienne's father, drawn as a dark and impressive villain, looms over a cowering knight – who has a noticeable hole in his pants revealing the classic heart-patterned underwear. This humor is cute and quirky, perfectly suitable for a young audience.
The side-story, "Mr. Froggy," while a flaw, is not a bad story. It gives further insight into a minor character in the Princeless tale, but that is precisely the problem: it is furthering a minor character we will probably never see again during the mini-series. While the tale is an enjoyable one featuring a boy going to charm school, it can be a one-shot all on its own. It is just there taking up pages that could be used to further the main story, which did not progress very far in this issue as a result.
During a first glance, Princeless may look like it is falling into the many pitfalls of being the cliché-battling turned cliché tale, but there is more to this indie than meets the eye. Give it a read if you enjoy fantasy, humor and girl power, preferably if you're 13 and under, but the enjoyment and fun can spread to all ages – as long as you open yourself up to laugh.
An all-around nerdette, I’m a comic book connoisseur, horror aficionado, video game addict, anime enthusiast and an aspiring novelist/comic book writer. I am the head of the comic book department and the editor-in-chief of Entertainment Fuse. I also write and edit articles for Comic Frontline. I am also an intern at Action Lab Entertainment, a comic book publisher at which I edit comic book scripts, help work on images in solicitations and help with other comic book related project. My own personal website is comicmaven.com.