You all know we love Kelly Thompson here, and in particular I’ve been loving Mega Princess. It’s been a great series so far, and issue 4, out today, is the best issue yet, as Princess Max and Pony Justine are Prisoners of the Poseidon People! (Um, that’s just my phrasing, Kelly avoids the alliteration there….)
Our pal Kelly Thompson is the writer, with Brianne Drouhard on art, M. Victoria Robado on colors, Warren Montgomery on lettering, and edited by Sierra Hahn and Whitney Leopard! (Yay for continuous creative teams! Makes my job easier when I can cut and paste from other reviews!)
Everything seems to click with this issue. The plot is packed, the interaction between Max and all of the other characters is well done, and the art looks like Drouhard has gotten really comfortable with the characters, so she’s able to stretch a bit and do some neat stuff. She’s helped by Robado doing great stuff with the coloring, giving the whole book a murky gray grime overlaid on the art (um…in a good way!), along with blurry shadows, to remind us that we’re underwater for most of the book.
Plot-wise, we’re treated to a packed book here. Max and Justine are prisoners, and they have to come up with a way to free themselves so that they can continue the investigation into the disappearance of baby Bobs. Once they’re no longer prisoners (um, spoiler?), they come across a princess of Atlantis, and finally Max is clued in to the fact that her brother is not the only kidnapped prince, because she discovers that there are other prisoners, and also figures out where the perpetrator is based, using some solid detective work. After a fun ride with salmon, they get to the Moonfall Kingdom and that sets the stage for the finale, where I have faith that Max will free the prisoners!
But this book has also been a lot about the characters and their interactions. There’s a fun sequence where Max argues with a shark who is also one of the prisoners in the jail, and it nicely turns a certain prison cliché on its head. Plus, Max shows that she’s an understanding princess, as she’s able to put herself into the shark’s, well, fins, and see things from his point of view. But that doesn’t make her a sap, though!
Max also uses her brains to rescue herself and Justine from being prisoners for the rest of their lives, as she ingenuously thinks of a way to free them (um, again, spoilers, but like, duh!). I won’t spell it out for you, but it’s quite clever.
Then the former prisoners come across the crying young Princess Star Blue Quartz of Atlantis, who’s feeling down for letting her brother get kidnapped. Wait a second, sister! Max is on the case! With some clever deductions, she figures out who has taken the princes prisoner and goes after them!
After an encounter with snobby seahorses and our heroes hitch an eventful ride with salmon, Todd the puffer fish also gets a nice moment as well, and our heroes arrive at the Moonfall Kingdom (isn’t that a Wes Anderson film?) ready to face the kidnapper!
Obviously Kelly’s given Brianne Drouhard a lot to work with, but Drouhard goes all out with this issue. So many great images, really expressive faces, super cute characters. Heck, when Max asks Star for scissors, she gets lobster claw scissors! That’s what they’d use in Atlantis!
She also continues doing the wonderfully expressive hand lettering for certain actions (unless Montgomery is doing those, I’m not sure!). Also, not only is this the best cover of the series, but I think we’ll be hard pressed to find a better comic book cover this year. (Yeah, I said it!)
So if you haven’t been buying Mega Princess, you really ought to, because it’s an incredibly good, incredibly cute comic. If you’re one of those trade waiters, you’re in luck, because the trade is available for pre-order at Amazon, and of course if you click there to buy it, you’ll help us out. And really, you should order it, because it’s awesome! Pony prisoners!