Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"Video games are a waste of time."
"And board games aren't? Why do you even have these? No one lives here but you!"
"I used to have some henchmen. Game night was a big hit."
"Henchmen? What happened to them?"
"I don't want to talk about it."
Available again at last! The first edition disappeared out of print practically before it had even hit the shelves back in May, such was the advance buzz surrounding this work by the co-creator of the LUMBERJANES. In the interim whilst we've been waiting for the second printing, it's been announced that 20th Century Fox are going to make an animated version. Which doesn't surprise me at all because when I read it, I was immediately struck by how wonderfully daft it was, in the exact same vein of bonkers as the ADVENTURE TIME cartoon.
The titular character Nimona is a brash young shapeshifter who's desperately trying to impress - and thus become the sidekick of - the not-so-dastardly Lord Ballister Blackheart. He's the boo-hiss villain of the piece, seemingly at irreconcilable odds with his one-time best friend turned arch-nemesis, Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin of the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics. But is anything or anyone what it seems in this crazy, mediaeval town?! No, in a word.
The Institution would have everyone believe that Ballister is evil personified, but actually he seems a rather misunderstood knight turned mad scientist, with a soft spot for his young wannabe charge. He's not convinced he needs or even wants a teen henchperson, but gradually Nimone's infectious personality and prodigious polymorphic powers, handy for implementing many a mischievous masterplan and performing those vital in-the-nick-of-time rescues, begin to win him round. By the time he learns the sad secret behind Nimona's abilities and those dark, dirty secrets of the Institution he's already three-quarters of the way down the road to knightly redemption!
This is possibly one of the best comedy fantasy graphic novels I have ever read, the intricate, witty storytelling is just wonderful. It is real heart-warming stuff too, as we quickly work out Lord Ballister's been framed and cast in the role of public enemy number one by the devious Institution for their own nefarious spin-doctoring ends. Don't fret, though, they'll get their justly come-uppance in a truly riotous finale.
Great artwork too from Noelle, who's clearly as talented an artist as she is a writer. She's like a neat and tidy Kate Beaton, if that makes any sense!