This series has been kicking serious ass lately. I missed out on reviewing the last issue, but if I had… high marks to say the least. The thing that’s always so pleasing about Ted Naifeh’s storytelling is that he manages to hook you with a different lure each issue. I’m not talking about the cliffhangers either, though the second issue had the best of the series. No instead there is a simple sequence in this issue that is moving. Even though I knew that its intention was to move me, it still worked. I know that sounds stupid, but it’s a lot like when you know you’re about to be scared and so you’re not actually scared because of that knowledge. When I know a story is trying to affect my emotions the opposite is usually the case, but not here. The story opens with the scene we’ve all been waiting for… the other princesses tell off Julie and it is marvelous. But you know the jacked up thing… Ulga still wants to be her friend. After that the princesses perform for the queen and she is not the stuck up piece of royalty that you’d expect. Instead she’s like that old lady that can tell everyone off because she’s old and what are you going to say to her? Nothing.
It’s during this sequence that Ulga comes out dressed like Ulga; fur wearing, helmet with horns and not the pretty, pretty princess she was transforming into so that Julie would like her. Ulga informs the Queen that she can’t play her intended song because smashed her lute on a thief to which the Queen informs her that she’s heard enough of that song for three lifetimes. Man is it easy to love the old gal after that. Ulga instead sings a song for her and as we’re told she has an incredible voice and without hearing her sing… I’d have to agree.
Naifeh crafts a simple tune, but in its simplicity it is also quite complex. You’ll be able to find the melody of the turn while reading and soon enough you’ll hear Ulga singing. Ah the comic medium… is there any other form of entertainment that can do that? That can make you hear a woman’s voice singing in your head and turn what’s an obvious attempt and pulling on your heart-strings and make it real emotions that you’re feeling? Simply incredible.
As I’ve said from the beginning Naifeh’s style has been elevated to a new level with this series. It’s not that his style or skill has changed, it’s that his presentation has grown making this work feel more mature than any of his previous. The scene in which Ulga sings is particularly beautiful and the absolute right fit for the scene as the landscape changes, much like they were transported somewhere else due to the power of the singing.
The next issue can’t come soon enough. Hell the next two issues can’t come soon enough, but I’ll patiently wait for them because I want to see what comes next. Nothing turns out to be that obvious in this series that much has been clear since the second issue. Whatever Naifeh has in store, I will be there for it and if you’re looking for a positive female character then look no further than Princess Ugg.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Ted Naifeh Publisher: Oni Press Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1/28/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital