Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Graphic Novel Review: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Title: Nimona

Author: Noelle Stevenson

Publication Date: May 12, 2015

Pages: 266

Meet Nimona, the small but vicious shapeshifting sidekick of Lord Ballister Blackheart, the kingdom’s most notorious supervillain…or is he? Watch as they set out to show the kingdom once and for all that The Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics and their poster boy, Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, are the real villains. But what will it cost them to prove it?

Full disclosure: I’ve loved Noelle Stevenson for a long time. At only 23 years old, she’s published Nimona and co-written Lumberjanes (both of which are on their way to the big screen), as well as won multiple Eisner Awards. She’s also one half of the duo responsible for The Hawkeye Initiative, which is one of the funniest things on the internet in my humble opinion. I’ve followed her on tumblr and watched Nimona come together as a web comic piece by piece, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Nimona is heartfelt, symbolic, and completely hilarious. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll try to keep it vague. Blackheart, our dastardly villain, does not believe in collateral damage. This is the main reason why he hates the Institution so much. Well, that and the fact that they booted him when he lost his arm in a jousting “accident” with Sir Goldenloin, and since they needed a villain, that’s what he became—whether he liked it or not. Nimona, on the other hand, has no problem murdering whole rooms full of people. While she comes off as cheerfully bloodthirsty in the beginning, we quickly realize that there is far more to her past than we can even imagine, or even want to. Together, they team up and start to dismantle The Institution through heists, manipulation, and general buddy-cop shenanigans. 

I love Blackheart. He’s a good guy with a bad rap. Who can’t get behind that? I’m also strangely fond of Sir Goldenloin, because even though he’s a huge doofus and his actions are often inexcusable, they’re not unexplainable. The quiet implications of his background with Blackheart that are threaded throughout the story are intriguing (and adorable).

Nimona, though. Nimona is a true gift. Nimona can go from zero to homicide in a nanosecond, which makes her incredibly unpredictable. She can change not just her appearance, but her strength and mass at will. She wants to help, but she doesn’t always know how to help without hurting people. She is both a sad, scared child and a girl who holds enough rage inside her to burn down the world. I love her so much.

The story is vibrant and funny, the set pieces are bizarre and brilliant (knights with swords and armor that also conduct scientific experiments), the artwork is so cute and so beautiful, and it’s just a really, really good time.

Seriously. Go read this right now. You won’t regret it.



Want to check out Nimona? Find it here on the CMRLS catalog and place a hold on it!