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The Pirate Princess #1: Out Of Money, Out For Blood
I’ll be the first to come clean and tell you I like pirates. So, of course I’m going to like a decent pirate story. The trick to a good story of any kind though, is the hook. The team of Writer, Jeremy Whitley, Pencil/Colorist, Rosy Higgins, and Layout Artist, Inker, and Letterer Ted Brandt took great care in giving you something to sink your teeth in on those first few pages, but don’t think for a moment they skimped at any point in the book. So, with that in mind, it’s fair to say we’ve already bypassed a “decent” story.
Our story opens up with something a lot of people can get behind. A father spending quality time with his daughter, teaching her the family trade. Little twist though, when said father is a Pirate King and he’s teaching his daughter how to shoot arrows at people. Cue the time-skip, as we see that same little girl all grown up, a would-be Pirate Queen known to the world as the Black Arrow stinging from the theft of her crown and inheritance by her brothers, as well as an empty stomach.
As Raven sets out to buy some food with what little money she has left, our heroine attempts to do a kind deed along the way. Here, as one would expect, the act of helping someone has bad consequences for Raven. The next few pages take the form of a skillfully drawn chase scene. Higgins and Brandt continue to put their best foot forth midway through this title, and it’ll be sequences like this that keep readers coming back for more.
Following the fun of the aforementioned chase scene, we get to see just how well The Black Arrow handles herself in terms of fisticuffs. The answer? Quite well, and with a little back-up, we get some genuinely witty banter from Raven and her newfound frenemy, and here Jeremy’s writing comes out smoother than a ship through water, and works masterfully in conjunction with the art. Following this little scrap, Raven Xingtao finds out that she’s (thankfully and tearfully) not all alone in this world…right before taking an unexpected nap.
The Pirate Princess is a book that thankfully finds its art and writing neck and neck, coming across very uniform throughout the book. The designs are reminiscent of older Disney films, such as Treasure Planet and Lilo and Stitch. The way the characters come across comes across with the same subtlety and depth that people are likely to experience when dealing with others in real life, though probably with less running. One of the key strengths to the book is the timing. Events don’t really drag on during this book, and the team makes great use of cliffhangers at just the right time and certainly look to keep readers coming back for more. Everything just happens at the right time.
It will be interesting to see where our story goes from here. We’ve seen some familiar elements, and some twists and turns have been taken with this series that gives a classic scenario a modern feel, that will delight both familiar readers and new comic fans.
You can find Raven: The Pirate Princess at any comic location that carries Action Lab titles, as well as on Comixology. Along with the original cover, you can also find variant covers drawn by Richard Case, Katie Cook, and Mike Hawthorne, and be on the lookout for Raven: The Pirate Princess #2, out now!