Have you read Princeless yet? If not, stop what you are doing, go buy volumes one and two. Oh, and while you are at it, go ahead and pick up Princeless Short Stories for Warrior Women #1 and #2. At this point I really should not be so shocked at the depth of Whitley’s storytelling ability, but I cannot help but be blown away once again by how unique, multifaceted and refreshing this book is. Short Stories provides a window into aspects of the Princeless universe that we have not seen before, but Whitley, almost seamlessly, maintains the charm and timelessness of the main series.
The most enjoyable of the four stories that span the two issues is The Smiths. Bedelia has been far and away the funniest character in the Princeless series, but this story shows us her tragic background, adding a level of depth to the character. This story should resonant with any child or adult that has dealt with abandonment. Bedelia represents the idea that everything gets better, and Whitley, in a very short time, gave the character more emotion than most writers do in an entire story. This is a perfect example of how short stories should be written.
None of the rest of the stories are as good as The Smiths, but do not let that fool you, they are worth the price of admission. Each story provides its own special kind of charm, while adding layers to the world and characters. Seeing a young King Ashe was particularly fun, and also exemplifies that while the Princeless universe is charming and humorous, there is a serious, almost dark, undertone. Ashe must have experienced some tragic events at sometime in his life to have gone from the rambunctious young knight showed in Short Stories to the antagonistic king that we know from the main series. I really hope that Whitley follows up on this idea, as it is one of the most interesting aspects of Short Stories.
Action Labs Comics is the publisher to go to for fresh and original comics, and every book I read reinforces that. Short Stories is a great spin-off to a great series. If you already read Princeless you need to read this book now. If you do not read Princeless that is fine too. You should be able to enjoy this book without any prior knowledge of the series. I give it an easy four and half out of five stars.