Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson

"Nimona" grew out of an award-winning web comic, and it's a little gem of a graphic novel for teens. Funny, irreverent, and satirical, "Nimona" touches on the deeper themes of acceptance, both of oneself and of others, forgiveness, and governments secretly endangering their citizenry in the name of national security. Okay, so that last one is maybe deeper than most teens will go, but the more important themes for "Nimona's" audience are easily understood and charmingly presented.

The title character shows up at archvillain Lord Ballister Blackheart's lair, a young girl who desperately wants to be his sidekick. Oh, and she's a shapeshifter. What exactly she's capable of becomes more apparent as the book goes on and her true nature reveals itself. Alongside this is the story of Blackheart and his nemesis, the hero Lord Ambrosius Goldenloin (yes, that is his name). Once fast friends, Goldenloin betrayed Blackheart and sealed their fate as enemies. When the Institute, a supposed force for good and the law, is found out to be experimenting with a dangerous substance that could taint the country's food supply, Blackheart tries to expose and stop them.

It's good fun, very clever and touching in parts, and the art is great. Nimona's various personalities shine through the page. For only my third ever graphic novel, I enjoyed it quite a bit.


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