So It may surprise you or at least my friends who read this blog but this was the first graphic novel I’ve ever read. Yeah, I know. I talk a good game. Kate and I watched the Saturday morning cartoons of X-Men and Spider-Man when were kids and, well, I pay attention. I listened to my friends and customers when they talked about various superheroes. I’ve pretty much seen all the movies. I’ve read various articles and critiques. I love Agent Carter. So I’ve paid attention and have been able to piece together this and that, enough that when I talk about comic characters and movies, I’ve come off as I know what I’m talking about. I’m a total fraud and I know it. I’m trying to fix that.
Nimona isn’t your typical superhero story. Actually she a villain’s sidekick. One day she shows up at Lord Blackheart’s place telling him she is going to be his sidekick and help him take over the kingdom and finally defeat his nemesis, Sir Goldenloin and the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics. Blackheart is resistant at first since there are rules but Nimona will not take no and once she shows him her shape-shifting abilities, he gives her a chance. At first, she’s a little bit too enthusiastic and dives in head first but eventually she and Blackheart find the perfect working relationship. After their first mission into the Institution, they come across the Institution’s questionable plans and it makes you ask who are the heroes and who are the villains.
There are many things I liked about this book. One is Nimona. She’s spunky, funny, loyal, brave, vulnerable, angry, lonely, friendly. She’s all those things and more. She clearly hasn’t had an easy upbringing. Her ability has made her an outsider, a monster, but really she is just a little girl looking for somewhere to belong. Lord Blackheart is a smart, curious man who feels he has been wronged and then took up the role he thought he was expected to play. He is really the first to see Nimona for who she really is. The world is not black and white. There is both good and bad and all of us. I was really taken with the story. The artwork was very nice. I liked the medieval aesthetic with a modern twist. Nimona is drawn as a sorta emo girl with pink and purple half shaven hair. She’s round not thin. She’s real. I was really touched by the story. It wasn’t just good versus evil or what does it mean to be good and evil but also finding our place in the world. Hoping to be judged on who they actually are and not what they are perceived to be. Isn’t that what we all ultimately want? I truly loved this book and I can say my first foray into graphic novels has been a success.