I have mixed feelings about this first issue. On one hand there are things that have improved since the last Princeless series, but then there’s other things that have taken a step back. I’ll start with my biggest gripe… I don’t know whose series this is anymore. Now granted it does say The Pirate Princess on the cover and she is standing smack dab in the middle of the cover, but it seems like a strange direction for the series to head in. Granted there are still three issues left to perhaps shed some light on what’s going on, but it side tracks from Adrienne’s story a lot.
In fact Adrienne and Bedelia are put more in a supporting cast role and our loveable dragon is reduced to a cameo… that honestly bummed me out because one of the biggest strengths of the first volume was Adrienne bonding with the Dragon and that hasn’t happened since.
The story kicks off with a story which isn’t uncommon and actually one of the things I like about the series. We meet a young pirate Princess aka Raven hearing a story about her great-grandma and the promise of her father to turn her into a great warrior. Cut to the present and Raven is locked in a princess tower. Things happen and Adrienne and Bedelia free Raven from the tower. Something that used to take an entire series now just takes a few pages which really steals from the weight of the event when you remember how many sisters Adrienne needs to save still.
Here’s the thing. The writing isn’t bad. It couldn’t be because Jeremy Whitley is a talented writer. Raven is a well-rounded character instantly and that shows how far Whitley has come from the beginning of the series. It took four issue for Adrienne to be well-rounded. While I may not understand the reason for the side mission from the main adventure, I can appreciate what Raven brings to the story. She’s very different from Adrienne and Bedelia and has her own goals in mind. Her story on her own is very interesting, I just don’t know why it’s a part of the Princeless series.
What is missing though is the friendship between Adrienne and Bedelia. They have zero bonding time and believe it or not their friendship is a huge part of the story’s charm… much like Adrienne and the dragon. I hope that they’ll have more interaction in the coming issues.
The art from Rosy Higgins and Ted Brandt is some of the best of the series. The previous two artists on the series were both very good and brought certain aspects of the world to life. Higgins and Brandt both have an animated look to their art. In fact this was more like watching a cartoon than reading a comic. I have nothing constructive to say about the art because I just liked it too damn much. It was my favorite part and it played to the humor of the story quite well.
Overall though, this was one of the weaker issues in the series. It struggles with its identity as it tries to flesh out the world, but in doing so it forgets what came before. What of Adrienne’s father and family? What of the bounty hunters still chasing Adrienne, one of which is Bedelia’s own father? Granted for new readers this would confuse them to a degree… but that feeds back into my first question of why this side mission? I’ll stick around for sure, but I hope the series finds its identity again. Right now it feels like this story is being told because it can be, not because it should be.
Writer: Jeremy Whitley Artist: Rosy Higgins and Ted Brandt Publisher: Action Lab Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 2/11/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital