Contrary to popular belief, a sidekick is not a flamboyantly dressed crime-fighting assistant confidently sporting emerald fish-scale panties. Although I can see where you might have drawn that conclusion.
No, a sidekick is much more than just embarrassing fashion choices and corny catch phrases. At their fundamental core, the sidekick is a dear friend, a relentless partner tasked with assisting a confidant to the best of their human (or non-human) ability. They are the foundation of any dynamic duo and the glue that keeps every good team afloat. And like any cherished colleague, they have it in their power to help make us better and worthier people than we can ever imagine.
In Nimona, we come to see the beautiful side to the historically underrated ward and how they can be a defining part of our lives.
Lord Ballister Blackheart is a man with a thirst for revenge. After losing his arm and being wrongfully banished from the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics, Blackheart turns to a life of villainy. While scheming up a plan to expose the unvirtuous quality of the institution, he happens upon an unexpected interloper by the name of Nimona who breaks into his lair. Nimona, inspired by Blackheart’s turpitude, offers her services to him, albeit eccentrically. Begrudgingly, the malefactor agrees, unleashing upon himself a jocular caboodle of escapades.
Nimona is a charming character who, despite being childish, does anything but annoy. Shamelessly headstrong and unswervingly honest, she helps to make every page an utter joy to read. Even better though, Nimona is not some cheaply crafted one-liner machine; she is a character written with such tactful depth you’d swear she was a real person living upon every panel of the story.
Although Nimona is the title character of the graphic novel, the story’s focus is placed mainly on Lord Ballister Blackheart, who is a compelling if not tragic lead. By himself, Blackheart would have been a more than sufficient protagonist to uphold the comic’s yarn. However, the majesty of Nimona’s success rests in the sidesplitting conductive relationship between its two electrifying criminals.
Blackheart plays the straight shooter to Nimona’s quirky endeavors, rolling his eyes and losing his temper in tune to the rambunctious actions of his energetic squire. Every page the two characters share is a delight. Whether allocating time to a heart-to-heart or frolicsome squabble over the dumbest of topics, readers can get really entrenched in the dysfunctional relationship the two share and how they help each other grow.
As for the artwork — well, it’s absolutely breathtaking. To call it eye candy would be too cheap a connotation to bestow upon it. Nimona is nothing less than a visual libation your eyes could drink until the end of time with no need for alternate sustenance.
In a sea of sometimes superfluous similar works and multitudinous choices, it can be a grandiose conquest just to find something unique (never mind something ultimately enjoyable). However, Nimona is a reminder that if you look hard enough you can still find a treasure or two in a bookstore packed of monotonous remakes and ridiculous knock-offs.
Noelle Stevenson crafted a work so mesmerizingly wonderful that splashes of her heart can be seen on every page you turn. Nimona is a whimsical tale which will leave your sides aching from laughter and your tear ducts drained as you wish the experience could last just another page more.