Mega Princess TPB
Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Brianne Drouhard and M. Victoria Robado
Lettered by Warren Montgomery
Published by Kaboom!
‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10
Brianne Drouhard and M. Victoria Robado turn Kelly Thompson’s all-ages Mega Princess into a visual delight worthy of a Saturday morning cartoon. Today’s trade release of the Kaboom! miniseries collects issues #1-5 of Thompson’s exuberant mystery series, and her writing is bolstered by Drouhard’s wide-eyed, cartoonish style and Robado’s beautiful colors.
There’s hints of traditional fairy tales and a sprinkle of magical girl sparkle that give Mega Princess its own distinct style and vibe, though it would be right at home on the shelves of fans of My Little Pony or Goldie Vance. Drouhard and Robado build a stunning series of kingdoms filled with playful visual gags, each one distinct in their aesthetic and colors, from the minty fresh floss box armor of the tiny kingdom to the beautiful undersea blues and greens of the kingdom beneath the seas.
Mega Princess follows the adventures of Princess Maxine, a savvy and sassy heiress who aspires to owning her own detective agency while her mother wishes she’d just turn up on time for more traditional royal activities like horseback riding with Max’s surly pony pal Justine. On the moment of her tenth birthday, Justine’s inexperienced fairy godmother Adele turns up to bestow on her an incredible gift: the powers of all the princesses in the world, turning Maxine into a mega princess with no idea what exactly being a mega princess entails.
Thompson and her co-creators, Adam Greene and illustrator Brianne Drouhard, offer a sweet coming of age tale that shows a young girl figuring out what it means to grow up against the backdrop of a fun and genuinely intriguing mystery. Thompson writes Maxine as a young kid too clever for her own good, and while this sometimes results in some slightly strained “pithy” banter between Maxine and Justine, it’s certainly relatable to any precocious kid who wants to assert their own smarts while navigating what that means for their relationship to their family and the world around them as a child.
Maxine is smart but impetuous, caring but thoughtless - in her quest to solve the mystery that threatens her family, she doesn’t stop to consider how the danger she throws herself into with boundless enthusiasm might impact her parents. By the same token, Max’s parents are working out what it means to raise a daughter who now has the means to act on her flights-of-fancy, and how to impress upon her the need for a little restraint without stifling her creativity.
Mega Princess doesn’t necessarily set out to teach a lesson, but it feels familiar and true, and for many readers will call to mind countless arguments you had with your parents, or you’re having now with your kids. Mega Princess is a sweet tale tempered by just the right amount of snarky kid sass, presented in a beautifully illustrated collection that any comics fan can feel great about giving to the young readers in their lives.