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I'm Reading Comeeks

I dedicate this blog to comics in all forms, manga, autobio, superhero, art books, etc.  And of course, since I need a challenge, I've decided that I'll read and write (short) reviews for 365 comics during 2015.

Another Lame Princess

Courageous Princess, The Volume 1 Beyond the Hundred Kingdoms (3rd edition) (The Courageous Princess) by Espinosa, Rod (2015) Hardcover - Rod Espinosa

Okay, deep breath.  It's not that I hate princesses, it's just that so far I have never read a comic about a princess that has not made me want to rage quit.


I needed to take three breaks from looking at this thing to get through it.  I picked it up because, of course, it was supposed to have an empowering message for girls.  From the back of the book, "...if you think she just waited around for some charming prince to rescue her, then you're in for a surprise!"  So, I expected some butt kicking, prince dissing, actual self reliance stuff.


What I got was a lot of scenes of praying.  She prayed before every meal and got on her knees with her hands clasped in front of her next to bed each night.  This thing was 238 pages long, how many scenes of praying do we really need?  I get it, she's devout!  


She also kisses a boar hoping that the boar is a cursed prince and she'd finally found her 'happily ever after.'  The real reason she wasn't waiting around for her prince to come was more the fact that she'd recently been to a party where everyone made fun of her plain appearance and clothing and didn't think a prince would bother trying to rescue her.  Great self-esteem!


So this volume of the comic basically follows Princess Mablerose as she escapes the clutches of the evil dragon Sha-something-er-other the "Prince Killer" whose minions cover vast reaches of the land, whose name is spoken with fear across the 100 kingdoms.  Luckily Mablerose just manages to pick up all the most powerful magical artifacts in whatshisface's lair as she makes her way out.  In fact, she doesn't even realize anything she has is magical until about the last 1/4 of the book, it's just blind luck that she manages anything!  Hardly empowering.  Also, luckily she meets a host of animals that help her out, including a talking porcupine named creatively "Spiky" a young wallaby named...you guessed it, "Wally B. Wallaby" and his mom, Tricia.  I know, right?


I even had flashbacks to my HS creative writing class where we did a pass around story and the Christian Do-Gooder girl was constantly sticking animal friends into the story (which was supposed to be a survival story, so usually when the story got around to me bambi would be literally dead meat.)  She even had our group of survivors come across a bear caught in a trap, just like the boar.  Of course a real bear or boar would hardly just sit there while you released it.  And I doubt very much you could ride it into town two minutes later.  I mean, I can suspend my disbelief for magic talking boars, but not for their superboar healing abilities.


There are a ton of references to other fairy tales and biblical stories.  They end up making the story even more ridiculous.  Take one scene, where Mablerose's dad, the King (Aladdin), journeys across the land to rescue his stolen daughter and comes to a bridge guarded by trolls.  The trolls jump out to face him and exact a toll, saying, "My family has been lurking on this bridge for generations..." and the King's like, "Oh, was it your great grandfather who got pushed off the bridge by a goat?"  And the troll's like, "OMG, how'd you know that!?"  Then the King pulls off his hood to reveal his face and says, "That goat is one of my best friends!"


Then he proceeds to march past the baffled troll, giving some flip lie about the next caravan being an easier mark.  One guy's like, "Dude, shouldn't we give them something?" Nope, maybe someday the trolls will learn to live in peace and farm (in the middle of the desert).  Not like the King's got any extra cash, right?  Not like, maybe the trolls are actually performing a service by keeping the bridge in what seems to be very good order, or anything.  After all, they're evil and rude!


There are way too many characters in this thing.  Each time we met anyone, they'd immediately introduce us to their wife and their brother and their brother's wife.  Of course, everyone was happily married.  The Seer and his wife made me spitting mad, truthfully...her comment about her hair had me almost ripping mine out!  Talk about gender stereotyping!


I complained about the art of Princeless too, but at least there were points where the art would improve.  This was not the case with the art here.  I don't enjoy being harsh, but I also didn't enjoy the fact that there was zero consistency in the facial features of the characters, which is crazy since the characters are so generic.  The art reminds me of those 'learn to draw manga' books.  Sorry, but to call this 'art' is really pushing it.


So, to wrap this up.  Those with very strict and particular moral rules would find this perfect, for anyone who actually wants to see some diversity and gender equality this is pure drivel.  In fact, I'd say it's actually harmful to developing an open mind and would never recommend it.  At all.