Review - Robots vs. Princesses #1 (@DynamiteComics)

"Zara. Zara. Zara. What am I to do with you?"

The story of a princess and her difficulties in life are so ingrained in pop culture that it's refreshing when a tale comes along that upends some of those tropes. Robots vs. Princesses #1 from Dynamite Comics is one such tale. The issue is written by Todd Mathy, illustrated by Nicolas Chapius and lettered by Sean Rinehart.

When plucky Princess Zara stumbles upon the Decimator defector Wheeler, she sets in motion events that will pit the spritely cleverness of fairy tale princesses against the raw power of giant robots!

Mathy lays the first issue out in a somewhat familiar fashion by challenging the main character Princess Zara to be a typical princess. Thankfully, Mathy does just the opposite, infusing Zara with a sufficient amount of grit and daring to make her feel like a unique character--which is good considering how unique the concept of the issue (and series) as a whole is. Separating Zara's kingdom from warring robots is a legendary forest that few venture into and Mathy uses that divide smartly as a means of keeping the two disparate sides apart. What brings them together are the personalities of Zara and Wheeler, a likeminded robot from his kingdom looking for a new way to do things that doesn't involve always fighting. Mathy uses the plights of both Zara and Wheeler to anchor the book in a sense of purpose.

Considering the all-ages appeal of the book, Chapius does a fantastic job in illustrating both sides of the forest and their inhabitants. All of the characters have a very friendly appearance that borders on cartoonish as Chapius lightens the mood considerably with their more lighthearted rendering. His panels are composed very cleanly, paying attention to characters first and foremost while also emphasizing the scenery. The pages in the forest Chapius really steps it up, giving the forest an almost ethereal presence that seems appropriate considering the legendary status both kingdoms have placed on the mysterious locale. Chapius' colors are bright and vivid which play well into the all-ages approach of the tale.

Robots vs. Princesses #1 is a fun first issue that takes a few concepts and subverts the reader's normal expectations for them. Both Zara and Wheeler are looking for a way to do things differently in the interest of changing the world around them. Mathy's script is fun and fast-paced, figuratively traversing the forest between the two kingdoms in an effort to make sure the reader is up to speed on the relevant events. Chapius' illustrations are very friendly and sport a youthful appeal to them. Robots vs. Princesses #1 plays well with established dynamics by eschewing them for newer, more modern takes.

Robots vs. Princesses #1 is available now.