Review: Princeless: Raven the Pirate Princess #1 and #2

PP2_CVREveryone loves Princeless, Jeremy Whitley‘s funny, exciting, explicitly feminist, all-ages fantasy comic staring women of color and a dragon. It’s the first comic I tell parents to buy their kids of any gender because it’s so likable and fun yet emotionally healthy. I’m not a parent but I think kids who grow up reading it will be better off then kids who don’t.

Whitley’s new series, Princeless: Raven the Pirate Princess is even better.

We first meet Raven Xingtao, the heroine of this new series in volume 3 of Princeless. Raven is brash, determined and roguishly charming. But you don’t need to read Princeless to read this new series. Everything you need to know is in the first issue.

Raven the Pirate Princess is not just a spin-off series, it is actually the next step of maturation for the adventure/fantasy world Whitley is building. While both series are all-ages this one is aimed at slightly older kids. The tone feels more mature then before. The characters’ voices even sound more mature and they are drawn in a more adult manner.

The art here is the best yet on a Princeless related title. It’s drawn, inked and colored by the brand new dynamic duo of Rosy Higgins and Ted Brandt who Whitley connected with on Tumblr. The art is more detailed and less cartoonish then the art on Princeless. It feels more elegant. The coloring is way more professional too. The characters are drawn a bit older and the action scenes are more dynamic and better composed. They also hit harder.

Issue two features a barnstormer of a scene where Raven tries to hire a crew for her pirate ship. It is one for the ages. The scene very effectively lampoons real world sexism in ways I have personally experienced and I’m sure you have witnessed too. I want to put the conversations he lampoons on freaking flyers and hand them out at conferences. They are perfect illustrations of the ways men disrespect women both consciously and subconsciously. This comic is doing a public service.

In issue two we also get a new character that I just adore, Katie King. I don’t want to spoil anything but you do see her on the cover. She looks like Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones except she seems far better adjusted. The idea of a Happy Brienne melts my heart. More mighty women with giant muscles in comics please!

Just as important, this comic features teenage girls flirting with each other. They are adorable. This is such a rare thing in comics. Lumberjanes has been rightfully praised for this and Raven deserves praise for it too. So now, reading this series you get pirate ships and also shipping in one family-friendly, queer positive, comic book featuring mostly people of color.

Marvel, DC, take note.

I guess Marvel did sort of take note because they hired Jeremy Whitley to write one story in the Secret Wars: Secret Loves book. But the time has come for much much more!

Story: Jeremy Whitley Art: Rosy Higgins and Ted Brandt
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 (but I’d give it a 10 for kids since a kids comic this good is so rare)  Recommendation: Buy

Action Lab Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review