Mega Princess #5
The adventures of Princess Maxine, wannabe detective, conclude for now with a happy ending. (Did you expect anything else?) For the previous four issues, accompanied by her talking pony, she’s been visiting fun, fantastic kingdoms while searching for her missing little brother.
Kelly Thompson uses classic ideas about princesses in fresh new ways, particularly in this issue, with a twist on the Frog Prince story. And I have to praise Brianne Drouhard’s art — she does a wonderful job drawing tons of amphibians, as you can see from the cover.
I loved the way the horse, Justine, is annoyed by the frogs, as cartooned with bunches of bulgy green eyes, particularly when many of them are sitting on her. It’s amusing re-reading the animal sequences; Justine’s frustration comes through the character’s body language. There’s also a terrific duck-person design during part of the story.
As this issue continues, a huge variety of supporting characters appear, drawn in the background but each distinctive. I admire how much work Drouhard has put into fleshing all this out. Thompson, meanwhile, has also given her villain an understandable, if slightly ridiculous motive, one that many people can relate to.
Some might think that Maxine has things too easy, since with the power of all princesses, she can generally pull a new ability out whenever and however she needs it. But the point isn’t the fight — although she does that — it’s the clever resolution of the problems she faces. She tries talking out the conflict first, and then she lectures the villain (as only a self-possessed kid can) on the right way to do things.
Mega Princess, once collected, will make a terrific children’s book. It’s imaginative while jumping off from a familiar base; it’s modern in attitude and classic in structure; and it’s got some admirable messages and lessons. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)