Nimona Rocks My Socks

I am really horrible at keeping track of webcomics.  I like my comics all in one tidy bundle.  Unfortunately, this kills trees.  However, I find that I read comics more easily in a big hunk (totally official nomenclature, that) than in bits and pieces.

I found Nimona on NetGalley, and we all know what can happen with comics on NetGalley.  No bueno.  I mean, some things have been awesome, but it's a bit like mining for a precious gem: there's a lot of sweat and dirt and crappy writing (wait, that doesn't happen in mining) for a low yield of good product.  But then, I looked closer at Nimona.  Noelle Stevenson?  Don't I follow her on Twitter?  I don't really know why I follow her on Twitter, mind, but she's funny and insightful and I like her style.  Of course, heck yeah I'm going to read the compilation of her webcomic.

Stevenson's style reminds me a bit of Jeffrey Brown in that it's deceptively simple.  There's no artsy-fartsyness to it, but it feels vibrant and fun.  Generally, when you've got a fantasy/swashbuckler going on, it tends to get a little ... New Age-y in the art department.  What is so charming about Nimona is that we've got shapeshifting and magic and villain's lairs, but it's all quite stylized and crisp, making for a sort of visual irony (yes, I totally made that up).

Ballister Blackheart is a famous criminal, fallen from grace as a student at the Institution years ago.  His beef with the Institution probably isn't helped by the fact that his ex-best friend (and possible other kind of best friend) Goldenloin sort of blew his arm off at a joust.  With an exploding lance.  Now Ballister's got one mechanical arm and a serious chip on his shoulder.  One day, a smallish, roundish girl with punky hair shows up, says her name is Nimona, and establishes herself as Blackheart's apprentice.  Nimona loves death, destruction, and mayhem, but she's mistrustful of Blackheart's reliance on science and logic.  She believes in magic.

The plot is actually quite complex for such a short comic, but Blackheart and Nimona decide to take down the Institution after discovering that it has been hoarding supplies of a poisonous substance called jaderoot, all while claiming to have the health and happiness of the citizens at heart.  Nimona can shapeshift into pretty much anything or anyone, which is exceedingly useful both in battle and in espionage.  She's hilarious and I love her.  Okay, fine, Blackheart is pretty easy on the eyes for a slim comic villain, too.

I only have the tiniest of quibbles, and it's that the ARC I received does NOT have the exclusive epilogue, which I must have NOW, but I suppose I'll have to wait until the book actually comes out and then just throw my money at Noelle Stevenson.


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