Author and artist: Noelle Stevenson
Type: Fiction, comic
I read it: June 2018
At the end of my review for Baba Yaga’s Assistant, I longed for a “morally questionable person who falls in with the devious” villain, as well as an assistant with “a mean streak.” Lucky me, the next comic up on my list was Nimona!
Nimona is a willful youth who strong-arms herself into a sidekick position next to the honorable baddie Ballister Blackheart. She’s a powerful shapeshifter and someone who wants to get things done, which means smashing walls and disposing of lackeys. Blackheart tries to keep her in check because he plays a standard game with his arch-nemesis (and former close friend) Sir Goldenloin, who is the in the employ of the Institution. Nimona shakes things up by upping the stakes whenever she can.
The story is a blast and the execution is expert. There are small chuckles alongside the long arc, in a cool world that features medieval magic as well as alchemical science. In a few scenes, some commoners seem modernly styled—I can’t tell if this is anachronistic or lends a timeless feeling. But it’s a minor point.
Nimona is a blast for readers who feel they’ve heard these adventure stories before, as it combines the most fun elements of all of them and comes close to slyly winking along with some tropes. But it has a heart all its own, and would be a perfect entry point for a younger person who would appreciate a colorful story with likeable yet complicated characters.