Friday, August 28, 2015

Nimona - Noelle Stevenson

Title: Nimona
Author: Noelle Stevenson
Publisher: HarperTeen, 2015 (Hardcover)
Length: 266 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Started: August 25, 2015
Finished: August 27, 2015

From the inside cover:

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: to prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are. Explosions will be involved. Science and Sharks will be too. But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson based on her award-winning web comic.

I heard nothing but good things about this graphic novel so I decided to pick it up. After reading it, this is a graphic novel I will be adding to my classroom collection for its humour, art style, feminist undertones, LGBTQ hints, and general awesomeness.

Nimona inhabits a medieval-inspired fantasy universe where there are dragons and knights, but surprisingly high-tech. She wants to become sidekick to Ballister Blackheart, the realm's resident villain who holds a grudge against Sir Goldenloin as the cause of the loss of his right arm (replaced by a mechanical one). Blackheart still holds to certain morals however (he used to be a knight in training with Goldenloin), and tries his best to keep Nimona's intensity in check. When the Institution realizes that Nimona is a shapeshifter, they order her death. Goldenloin has a bit of a conscience though, and only agrees to kill Nimona if the Institution will spare Blackheart. Throughout the comic, Goldenloin and Blackheart spar physically and emotionally (hence the LGBTQ hints) and try to uncover Nimona's backstory to figure out exactly what she is.

I love the fact that Nimona can take any form she wants (including dinosaurs and dragons) and chooses to take the human form of a chubby redhead, yay for body diversity! And I love that Nimona still has a very specific identity and personality regardless of the form her body takes, Nimona is still Nimona no matter what she looks like (how's that for body acceptance?) The story starts off goofy and sarcastic and cool and slowly morphs into a story with much deeper, darker themes. I also like the little bonus comics and sketches at the back of the book, including one of Blackheart and Goldenloin as kids at Christmas and early character development sketches.

An amazing story with great art and humour, and an awesome female protagonist. Plus, sharks and dragons, you need to read this.

Thoughts on the cover:
I love it, especially with the green tones. I like how Nimona is in quasi-dragon form here.

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