Author/Artist: Noelle Stevenson
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins imprint)
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 havoc. Their mission: 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.
Nimona is about good and evil, friends and enemies, heroes and villains. This wonderful comic takes them all, mixes them up, and makes you wonder which side is the 'good' side. Who is really the 'villain' here?
Nimona is bold, unpredictable. She flies off and takes action without waiting for Ballister's instructions. Their relationship is like student and teacher. As the older villain, he guides her in the fine art of eviltry. Teaches her about plots and plans, drawing maps, biding their time, and striking when they're ready. As the plucky shapeshifter, Nimona teaches Ballister to care about people again. There are some dark days in his past, most of them involving hero of the people Ambrosius Goldenloin, and because of that time in his life he's given up on people.
The setting brings so much to the comic. Everything takes place in a medieval-style village full of peasants and knights, castles and swords, magic and dragons. Combined with this is a lot of modern science. Television, video calling, chemical warfare. Laser guns. There's a sense of whimsy here, that anything is possible. It's also interesting, that anything is possible in this world and people can still be at each other's throats. There's still complicated friendships and complicated politics in fantasy settings.
This comic is sweet, funny, tense, and emotional. It plays with long-running perceptions of good and evil, heroes and villains. The shades of grey that separate us, that we never see until we stop to explore what motivates people. A must-read for comic fans, for kids and adults. For everyone, basically.
(I purchased a copy of this book. Before publication, I read this when it was posted online as a webcomic.)