By Sam King
IDWs new ongoing Disney comic expands on the adventures in the Disney Channel animated show, Tangled: The Series. The show began with a made-for-TV movie entitled Tangled: Before Ever After, in which Rapunzel gets her magical hair back. The second season premiered recently under a new title: Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure. The show was renewed for a third season, but the comic continues to carry the original series name.
This comic follows the same type of formula of the DuckTales comic, but with a Tangled facelift and it is slightly more enjoyable thus far. In the overall series, Rapunzel has to learn how to balance the life of royalty with her own desires, while also trying to figure out the secrets of her regained hair and her relationship with Eugene. Each issue up to this point presents two or three episodic adventures that Rapunzel goes through in her home kingdom of Corona. While the adventures may have characters from different episodes, it is possible to read the comics with only knowledge of the introductory TV movie that began the series.
Issue #3 has two adventures and one short comic that appears simply for comedic fun, which relates directly to events in Tangled: Before Ever After. The first story presents some of the lesser troubles that come with being royalty. The villagers look upon Rapunzel and take life influences from her, which don't necessarily work out well for every business in the village. In the second story, Rapunzel takes on the role of Royal Mail carrier temporarily, causing Big Nose the hopeless romantic thug to be invited to a royal ball by mistake. Rapunzel as a good friend and a fair princess tries to help make the situation end well without having to hurt the feelings of anyone. The third piece in this issue humorously depicts Rapunzel in a powdered wig as seen in Before Ever After, showing the difficulties Rapunzel had while trying to hide her own flowing locks.
While the comic does not progress the plot of the show (similarly to the recent DuckTales comics), it does increase the amount of Rapunzel adventures fans get to enjoy, which is always a good thing. The stories are light and fun, providing solid entertainment. These appear to be best for young fans and big Disney fans in general, who want more of their favorite Tangled characters. It extends the fun of the series, but would not be an ideal start-up point to begin getting into the series as it passes up the core elements of how Rapunzel got her hair back to begin with. It does, however, feature the best characteristics of Rapunzel. It shows her free spirit, desire to do right by those around her, and her cheerful disposition, all of which are excellent qualities to present to youth. Rapunzel is a good role model and is one of the most interesting princesses since she doesn't automatically get the standard get married and live happily ever after treatment. This is particularly true since the series takes place before the wedding of Eugene and Rapunzel, before they were even engaged. This shows an alternative to stereotypical stories about princesses and what their lives should be at the "end" of their initial troubles. For Rapunzel, she just gets more worries and has to adapt to a whole new lifestyle. I applaud Disney for bringing this story to the forefront and shifting up their standard princess formula a bit from the traditional Cinderella outlook to the fiery youthful spirit and independence of more recent princesses like Rapunzel and Merida (who, just saying, should also be given her own comic).
The art style mirrors the show's directly and is bright. It is visually fun and youthful and the text boxes match well stylistically. They aren't just generic, but fit the theme of a fantasy kingdom. There is enough dialogue to progress the story and also enough images to help it along or stand on their own without much text necessary, creating a good balance of art and text. Every character is easily recognizable and the comic itself is just really cute. Kids will love seeing it, parents will be able to tolerate it pretty happily, and fans of 2D animation will like to see the artistic shift of the show and comic alike when compared to the original film.
Overall, this a light, fun comic. It is perfect for young readers who are fans of the show. It would make for enjoyment between episodes or when a TV is not immediately available. While not revolutionary to the genre in of itself, it is still a solid release for this week and would be a great addition to Disney comic fans collections for those who still enjoy watching Disney Channel animated series. For the intended audience it is great, but for casual comic readers who aren't into Disney, this one wouldn't be a must read by any means. It serves its initial purpose, but does not go above and beyond.