I do not know what happened here in this conclusion of the White Queen. White Queen takes out the Trickster lady and makes a run at the Black Queen getting her and her daughter killed in the process. It’s kind of a twist ending, I guess, our protagonist just dies at the end unable to accomplish what she set out to do. It’s a valid story element, the protagonist failing, it can be used to great effect and when used correctly it can be something that makes good stories great. Orwell and Kafka both used the failed protagonist to weave some of the greatest stories in human history. Kafka in particular made a living out of telling stories based around the failed protagonist and used it to create worlds and characters unique and interesting in their bleakness and nihilism. Oh, it’s very important to say that this doesn’t reach the heights of those authors or those stories. No, the other edge of the double edged failed protagonist plot sword is that if it isn’t built properly, if it isn’t earned, you create nonsense. Terrible, terrible nonsense. You need to spend time to create a flawed protagonist so when they fail it’s obvious why. There’s a lesson in their failure. You need to spend time building a flawed world that’s dark and oppressive so when the protagonist fails you understand the mechanisms in place that causes the failure. It’s a bold narrative choice that requires a lot of nuanced characterization and complex world building. None of which happens in The White Queen mini-series and when it’s handled poorly what instead happens is a lot of confusion and seemingly random moments.
Let’s talk about White Queen as a series. The first issue was infuriating, but now at the conclusion it makes a lot more sense. That first issue was supposed to establish a flawed protagonist. It makes so much more sense how needlessly violent she was in that first issue and why the innocent people she tried to protect had to die. I interpreted this as an unfortunate attempt at 90’s ‘grim n’ gritty’ nonsense. Edgy for the sake of edgy. But they were laying groundwork towards end failure.
The following issue was to establish the world as a flawed world. We tour Wonderland and find it a place of madness with unreliable characters in an unreliable environment with unstable rules. The problem was they completely changed the protagonist in the course of revealing the world. Suddenly we had a flawless protagonist in a flawed world. Of course where the first issue was a lamentable mess this second issue was head and shoulders above the first. This third issue was supposed to pay off these two concepts and deliver what was intended to be a heart wrenching emotional ending. It didn’t. What happened instead was a series of emotionless bullet points using art.
I didn’t really understand what happened in this issue and as a result I wasn’t emotionally invested when White Queen left Trickster alive or when she went on to confront the Black Queen or even, ultimately, when the Black Queen killed her. Based on the editorial notes throughout it’s clear that this is part of a bigger world and this story takes place smack, dab, in the middle of something much larger. I don’t know if that context would improve this or not honestly. At the end of this I don’t really know how impactful this climax is. For all I know in the greater story they just come back and it’s nothing. The grand conclusion to all of this is this: It’s a thing that happened and it was written and drawn then published by Zenoscope. The end. Also I was killed by my antagonist in the course of writing this because of my own flaws. I hope you all feel bad about that.
The White Queen #3 (of 3) Writer: Joe Brusha/Ralph Tedesco/Troy Brownfield Artist: Luca Claretti Colorist: Leonardo Paciarotti Publisher: Zenoscope Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 4/8/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital