Review: Another Castle #1

tumblr_inline_o10b0dKT021r2ab65_540Confession: I’m not much of a gamer. Well, a more casual one. I never really played Zelda or Mario growing up, so my attachment to the characters is more of an overall cultural one. I’ve spent more time playing Zelda in Super Smash Bros than traversing with Link across Hyrule.

It’s easy to imagine that a book titled Another Castle would be filled with gaming references, but the new Oni Press book by Andrew Wheeler and Paulina Ganucheau also has just as much in common with books like Princeless and shows like Adventure Time as it does with The Legend of Zelda.

The book follows Misty, the princess of the kingdom of Beldora. Ten years after the death of her mother at the hands of Lord Badlug the Terrible, Misty is expected to marry Prince Peter. However, despite her love of “dresses and carriage rides,” Misty is frustrated by the fact that seems to be it for her while princes like Peter get to command armies and battle monsters. Which is probably why she takes the opportunity to face Badlug face to face with a sword made from his soul and lets herself get kidnapped in the process.

Wheeler’s writing for Another Castle strikes a fine balance between establishing and action as well as funny and heartbreaking. Even with all we know about Misty so far is her headstrong nature, her resourcefulness, and just a bit of the sadness in her past, she feels like a character we’ve known for ages. One that you want to see succeed as she gets deeper into Badlug’s lair as she makes her own escape. The charming introductions of the characters of Gorga and Fogmoth also give the book a sense of atmosphere and the hope that maybe Misty will make actual friends on her journey.

Taking a turn for more high fantasy than magical girl in this story, Ganucheau’s art is still delightful as ever. With a certain video game colorfulness and expression, the characters and the world of Another Castle really do come to life under her pen. It’s especially complimentary to Misty, an admitted girly girl who also likes to fight, is looking for something beyond being the typical princess, and has to learn the more diplomatic parts of her position on the fly. Plus, there are little details that make the book extra fun on a second read, like one of Gorga’s hair snakes eating a scone after Misty knocks it away from Fogmoth. Not to mention the send up of Sheik towards the end of the issue.

If you’re intimidated by or are expecting a straight video game send up from Another Castle, you may be pleasantly surprised that while the first issue does have a fair amount of video game vibes, the story fits well along the line of women-centric fantasy comic books like Princeless, Princess Ugg and Rat Queens while still being its own thing. Wheeler and Ganucheau have created a bright and fun universe that is easy to get lost in and makes you root for your heroes right off the bat. No apologies here, the princess you seek is in Another Castle. 

Story: Andrew Wheeler Art: Paulina Ganucheau
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review