by Noelle Stevenson
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Length: 272 pages
Obtained Via: Gifted
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The graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it “a deadpan epic.”
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.
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.
So far dipping my toes into the ocean that is graphic novels has served me pretty well, and Nimona continues that trend. I expected to like it, but I was also a little wary. My fears were unfounded, though, because Nimona was such a charming story that had plenty of laughter, danger, and heart.
The story starts with Nimona trying to persuade the resident supervillian, Lord Blackheart, into letting her be his sidekick. Blackheart’s not really on board with this plan until Nimona reveals that she’s a shapeshifter, which is quite a handy trait to have in a sidekick, so he reluctantly brings her on. Over time, though, he becomes quite protective of Nimona, and my favorite parts of the novel were the fun moments between Nimona and Blackheart.
Meanwhile, tension is a-brewin’ between Blackheart, the Institution, and Sir Goldeloin, aka the resident hero. Blackheart may be the supervillian, but it’s clear early on that not everything is as it seems, particularly as Blackheart and Goldenloin had been best friends until Blackheart lost an arm at Goldenloin’s hands. There’s intrigue, poison, and lots of SCIENCE! in Nimona(Blackheart and his love for science would probably get along quite well with Carlos from Welcome to Night Vale. Scientists, the both of them. Please feel free to take this fanfic idea).
At the outset, Nimona looks like your typical adventure story, and sometimes it IS. . . but there’s also a lot it does differently. Nimona, Goldenloin, and Blackheart all have secrets in their pasts, but when those secrets are revealed, it’s not what you would typically expect. The story kept me on the edge of my seat and I gasped, laughed, and really overall just FELT for the characters. A great adventure story I highly recommend, and a graphic novel I know I’ll be revisiting in the future.
Nimona was so much fun! What really made me love it, though, was even though it was fun and funny, there were some dark story threads and a serious heart of this novel. I know I’ll be re-reading this in the future. 5/5 cupcakes.