Review - Princeless: The Pirate Princess #1

"Life just never turns out like you expect."

Life as a princess waiting to be rescued is all sorts of slow and dull. Sure, you get a great view of the surrounding landscape, but other than that, there's really not that much to be enthused about. That's what makes escaping that much sweeter, especially when the liberator is a princess herself. Action Lab Entertainment is delving back into that universe with Princeless: The Pirate Princess #1, written by Jeremy Whitley and illustrated by Rosy Higgins.

Princess Adrienne has made it a point to emancipate any and all princesses who need rescuing. This time, Adrienne and Bedelia have found another young princess locked away in a tower and decided to rescue her. But Princess Raven is more than meets the eye and Adrienne may have finally met her match. Needless to say, Raven is a princess who's more than capable of holding her own when the situation calls for it.

The Princeless books excel at offerings stories about empowering princesses (and women in general). Whitley maintains that general theme in Princeless: The Pirate Princess #1, with Adrienne meeting another like her in Princess Raven. Both princesses are fiercely independent and are seeking their own version of independence for different reasons. For Raven, her motivation is simply just to be "rescued" as a means of escaping the boredom of being a damsel in distress. Adrienne's proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that she's capable of rescuing when necessary, but her methods tend to be a little on the violent side. It seems the only way she knows how to save a princess is by fighting her way in and out, instead of using her intelligence or mental acuity.

For an all-ages book like Princeless: The Pirate Princess #1, the art is just as important as the story and Higgins nails it. His illustrations are vibrant and alive, presenting very clean lines and sharp details. Raven resembles Mulan in some ways, yet still feels as if she's a natural part of the Princeless universe. The empty gutters allow further attention to be directed towards the beautiful panels; panels presented precisely and in a way that clearly depicts the action unfolding. There's great use of colors throughout the book as well, demonstrating a range in various lighting and environmental factors.

Princeless: The Pirate Princess #1 is another solid entry in the Princeless mythos. Raven is every bit the equal that Adrienne is, with the latter a little befuddled by how capable Raven really is. Whitley's story this time around is actually an interesting twist on the damsel in distress trope, as Raven can clearly fend for herself (and was even trained by her father to do so) and still waits to be rescued. Higgins' illustrations are wonderful, adding the very joyous and lighthearted tone that the series has made its name on to this point. Princeless: The Pirate Princess #1 is another great book in the series that merits your attention; pick it up in January or get your local comic shop to put in some preorders for this.

Princeless: The Pirate Princess #1 is in stores January 2015 and is currently available in previews under NOV140910.