Friday, March 10, 2017

Princeless: Make Yourself, Part 1 (Jeremy Whitley)

Princeless: Make Yourself, Part 1
(The Princeless series, Volume 5, part 1)
Jeremy Whitley, illustrations by Emily Martin, Brett Grunig, and Alex Smith
Action Lab Entertainment
Fiction, YA Comics/Fantasy
***+ (Okay/Good)

DESCRIPTION: Princess Adrienne's quest to rescue the rest of her sisters takes her to the frozen mountains of the dwarves... an awkward homecoming for her sidekick, the half-dwarf girl Belinda. As Adrienne prepares for another fight, this time for the twins (locked up in twin towers in the mountains), she still struggles to find her own freedom, old attitudes and insecurities gnawing at her. Meanwhile, Belinda learns that her human mother, who ran out on the family after one too many drunken blows from her father, has not only visited the dwarves, but taken a job with the nearby monster farm - where Sparky the dragon was raised and trained.
Elsewhere in the land, young Prince Devin and his reluctant wolf-girl companion Kira have a fateful run-in with the escaped Prince Wilcome and his elven sort-of-friend/fellow escapee Tempest. While hereditary enemies Kira and Tempest spar, the foursome join forces to track down the missing queen - but something very much wants to keep them from succeeding...

REVIEW: This volume lost a half-star on two counts - one for stretching, another for advertisements. The latter I can't blame on the story itself, though I found it very distracting to have multiple full-page ads tripping me up between segments. (Eleven ads, in one grueling stretch. I appreciate that advertising is necessary, and the comic/graphic novel industry is no exception, but really - eleven in a row? They couldn't have been broken up a bit?) The former issue of stretching, however, definitely infringed on my enjoyment. Some introspection by Adrienne is inevitable, as her journey helps her grow up, but at some point her tangents and conversations on the matter cross a line from relevant and intriguing to plot filler and outright stalling. Likewise, Belinda's subplot - dealing with anger over her runaway mother - clutters the pages... as do her many dwarven relatives, who were often hard to tell apart. Sparky's quest to find her roots inches forward, but all the padding knocks a reunion and revelation into Part 2... like Adrienne's rescue mission. (Cut a few of the ads, and maybe it wouldn't have needed a second volume to finish... but I digress.)
As for Prince Devin's story, I wasn't fond of Prince Wilcome in his last adventure (part of the Princeless short story compilation volume, reviewed previously), and I'm not much more interested in him now that he's been added as a regular; he comes across as too shallow and one-dimensional compared to the rest of the cast. I'm also not sure about Tempest. The whole quest to rescue the queen itself feels like plot stretching; any reader paying any bit of attention knows what happened, if not details of why, and the longer it drags out, the more tedious it grows.
The cast and storylines feel bloated, dragging out for the sake of dragging out, or maybe for ad sales given the concentration. (Eleven in a row... still can't get over that. I counted twice to be sure.) I expect I'll read the second part for some closure, but if the tale keeps distracting itself and meandering into tangents of minimal progression, I might call it a wrap on this series. It's still fun, but not as fun as it used to be.

You Might Also Enjoy:
The Paper Bag Princess (Robert Munsch) - My Review
The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes (Wade Albert White) - My Review
Princeless: Save Yourself (Jeremy Whitley) - My Review

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