Nimona : A slow-burn web comic with excellent planning

Nimona’s about a shapeshifting girl who becomes the sidekick to a villain. It is told in brief strips, originally posted periodically on the internet, but slightly reworked for this collection. It builds slowly, and requires a bit of patience to get through the set-up. Allow me to give an example.

Early in the comic Nimona, the shapeshifter, pretends to be a sociopath. At this point I almost gave up on the book, because if you are into webcomics, you see a dreadful number where the moral could be summarized as “Girl does the horrible things boys have generally done! Yay!” This rapidly switches, because it becomes clear that Nimona wants to be the sidekick to the villain, and so is saying what she hopes he wants to hear. Fortunately the villain is more complex than that, and so they begin an interplay between his principled, precise rebellion against the government and her more chaotic, improvisational spreading of chaos. This breaks him out of his rut (scheme, fight the hero, retreat to his lair) and begins a chain of events which lead back to the source of Nimona’s strange powers.

The characters develop well given the super-brief dialog of the strip format. The art style is sparse, flat and angular. When it is trying for comedy, the pace of strip comics helps it tremendously.

Widely recommended for teen readers and up. Available from City Libraries.