Adrienne, Bedelia, and Sparky continue their quest to save Adrienne’s sisters in the newest volume of Princeless. The next princess on their list is Adrienne’s middle sister Angoisse. To find her they must travel to a tower located in the middle of a dark and scary swamp full of man-eating goblins, zombies, and a mysterious monster called the Grimmorax. As usual Adrienne and Bedelia’s rescue attempt does not go as planned and instead of landing on Angoisse’s tower they end up deep in the swamp. There follows a series of events involving goblin politics, spa treatments, a run in with the Grimmorax, a case of flaming hair, and a chance encounter with a pack of zombies.
If you have been following the series you are aware by now that while we mainly follow the events of Adrienne and Bedelia’s quest to save Adrienne’s sisters, there are several side plots percolating as well. In one of these plots Adrienne’s brother Devon is dragged off by their father on a quest to save his mother from the Black Knight (following up on events from volume 2) and he is joined on his quest by Kira of the wolf pack, much to their dismay. The mysterious Black Knight is also still on the trail of Adrienne and Bedelia and is seen several times in this book observing their actions.
As usual Jeremy Whitley’s writing stays light and witty. His characters, however, still address serious issues from race to gender equality. They simply do so while maintaining their dry humor. This volume is similar structurally to his previous volumes. There are incremental increases in plot, new characters, misunderstandings, and the introduction and “rescue” of one of Adrienne’s sisters. Emily Martin returns from volume 1 and 2 to do the art on this volume. Her style is slightly reminiscent of that found in manga with character’s reactions often overdramatized for effect and humor. If you are looking for photo realistic art and full backgrounds in your graphic novels then this is not the book for you. Martin’s art is accompanied by Brett Grunig’s colors which are soft and jewel toned, lending support to the book’s fantasy setting and plot.
This title is marked as all-ages by its publisher and would do well in either the kids or teen’s graphic novel section due to the manga-influenced art, wry humor, sight gags, and the ongoing reversal of gender roles in the narrative. I think kids will appreciate the story at face value and teens will better be able to enjoy more of the meat in the text. Princeless is a fun book, and volume 4 continues to deliver on both its title and premise.
Princeless, vol. 4: Be Yourself
by Jeremy Whitley
Art by Emily Martin
Action Lab, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: All Ages