I’ve been reading more graphic novels lately, which I think is from a mix of becoming slightly obsessed with WEBTOON and working on adapting one of my own manuscript to a graphic novel script. I had seen Nimona recommended in some article (I can’t remember which), and shapeshifters and villain protagonists were enough to pique my interest. Plus, author Noelle Stevenson has done a ton of cool TV projects including She-Ra and the Princesses of Power and Critical Role. Nimona was also based on Stevenson’s acclaimed web comic.
Here’s the summary from the GoodReads:
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.
This graphic novel was fantastic. Going into this story, I thought it would be fun and silly. And yes, it was, but it was also so much. There was real emotion behind the actions of the characters, and backstories that made me want to cry and root for them. I was not expecting the depth of the characters, but it was a welcomed addition, making the story far richer. While I always love a good villain, especially ‘protagonist’ villains, such as Lord Blackheart and Nimona, I especially loved finding out why they had become villains. There was such specific hurt in their past, and it was a delight to see them struggle with their past demons while deciding how they wanted to face their futures.
But just when the story threatened to get too sad or too dark, there would be some wacky antics, like Nimona become a shark person, walking around as a literal landshark. The combination of ‘modern’ technology in a medieval setting also created a strange-yet-wonderful world with old flavor and a contemporary feeling.