Jeremy Whitley has crafted one of those rare tales that not only resonates within our culture, but also maintains a feeling of timelessness. Princeless is the kind of comic book that you read, then cannot wait to share with your children one day, especially if you have a daughter. The fact that Whitley has turned the regular princess story on its head, instead focusing on a strong female lead, who is willing to forge her own destiny instead of waiting on a charming prince to save the day, is ingenuousness in action. Issue four of volume two has continued the trend of fantastic writing from Whitley.
For those that are unfamiliar with the story, Princeless is the story of quick-witted princess Adrienne and her quest to “save” her sisters. In the first volume she started out as a typical trapped princess in a tower guarded by a dragon named Sparky. She would watch as potential suitors were killed, but soon found her own escape through a sword hidden under her bed. This launches her into her quest, with her first stop being her father’s (who is the one that hid her away) palace to find her youngest sister, who has been relocated. After discovering this she eventually goes to the nearby town to buy new armor where she meets blacksmith and soon to be sidekick Bedelia. After hijinks involving the King’s Army and Bedelia’s shop burning down, the young ladies decide to rescue Angelica, the older sister, first, ending the first volume.
Volume two for the most part has dealt with the “rescue” of Angelica, even though she is not looking to be rescued. The lead up to issue four has primarily dealt with the mystery behind Adrienne’s mother’s disappearance, Angelica’s love of her “prison” and Adrienne’s confrontation with one of her father’s many bounty hunters. At the end of issue three Adrienne touched Angelica accidentally unleashing her “guardian,” a large cat made of blue goo.
I was fairly confident going into issue four that Whitley was going to maintain the quality that we have come to expect of him through the past seven issues. What I did not expect was for him to provide the best issue of the series so far. The battle with Angelica’s guardian could have ended with any sort of deus ex machina, but Whitley proved his writing prowess by providing a believable and logical conclusion to the battle. One of the many strengths of Princeless has been it’s humor. Even through the tense battle, Whitley is able to maintain the lighthearted nature of the series.
The issue ends with Adrienne and Bedelia setting a course for the Grimorium Swamp to rescue the next princess Angoisse, who it seems is already in danger. This provides a nice segue into the next volume, while leaving us wanting more.
Overall, this issue of Princeless does everything that the finale of a volume should do. It is a clever conclusion to the second chapter of one of the most charming books in current print. I simply cannot wait for our next adventure with Adrienne, Bedelia and Sparky.