Artists: Rosy Higgins and Ted Brandt
Publisher: Action Lab
This installment in the ongoing Princeless series is everything you could want from a title like Princeless: The Pirate Princess #1. The title boasts a tough, self-assured lead whose father trained her from childhood to be a quiet, efficient warrior of the high-seas as opposed to a princess waiting in a tower for rescue. So it’s a surprise that the latter situation is exactly where Raven Xingtao, the pirate princess, finds herself in the opening pages of the book. But before you can say prince charming, two other princesses arrive on a large pink dragon to break into Raven’s tower. Adrienne is clearly not “wearing her husbands armor” as a Knight loitering beneath the tower discovers to his peril, and Bedelia formidably wields a large Harley-Quinn style mallet. Raven easily falls in with the trio leading to several action packed scenes.
Admittedly, this is was my first brush with the Princeless series, but the story was easy enough to follow. I would have liked to learn just a little bit more about Raven and her brothers before the issue ended, though. We’re fed some tantalizing bits–such as the fact that her brothers put her in the very tower she escaped from, apparently with the blessing of Raven’s pirate king father. This is quite a reversal from the flashback scene that opened the issue, which found the King grooming a young Raven to follow in her great-grandmother Ming’s fierce, legendary pirate-of-the-Rim-Sea footsteps.
Rosy Higgins and Ted Brandt are a lovely art team on this book, giving the story and action the look and feel of an animated series that would have fit right into the Disney afternoon programming block. Sadly, in those days princesses didn’t often get to save themselves. Writer Jeremy Whitley seems more than aware of this fact, and the whole package makes Princeless: The Pirate Princess #1 incredibly appealing to anyone who wants a little less damsel-in-distress and a little more Kick-Ass in their fairy tales.