(W) Todd Matthy (A) Nicolas Chapuis (L) Sean Rinehart
From Kickstarter dream to Dynamite printer, the epic comic book showdown Robots Vs Princesses has begun, albeit with a slow uninspiring beginning. With a name like Robots Vs Princesses, you’d expect gigantic robots fighting plentiful princesses, but instead we get an exposition-heavy first issue that really doesn’t explain much. It just raises questions that try to entice but falls flat like a rusted robot.
The start of the four issue series by Todd Matthy takes many cues from multiple animated films. A rebellious princess, a forbidden area that no one is allowed to enter -what a mystery!- and a few other princesses that most perform something for “The Recital”. On that note about “The Recital”, we are never told exactly what it entails, other than it’s important and the Queen met her husband in a previous one even though she lost. In the first few pages we are given the nitty-gritty of the plot. Princess Zara is day dreaming of dragons, the Queen catches her attention after a few failed attempts then proceeds to ask her what her animal would be for the recital. Following this we learn what three other princesses have for animals. Penelope has cats, mice, and dogs that will clean up a mess, Clarissa has birds that will make her a dress, and finally Artelia with snakes and scorpions that will dance. I have seen all of that before in a few other princess stories.
But Zara is here to change that – with a dragon! How scary and original of her! But to complete this feat she has to travel to the [ominous sounding] Forbidden Forest. We learn in a few pages about robots on the other side of the Forbidden Forest and a war that’s going on. By learn I actually mean, “Hey look! Anime looking robots fighting each other! How radical!” It’s not. These few pages are shown to introduce our robot character for the comic, Wheeler, the small, weak robot who wants nothing to do with the war and would much rather run for the Forbidden Forest. See where this is going?
With the two characters motivations coincidentally being this mysterious forest -that has never ever in history been explored- they both move their legs and plot along. Looking but not finding her dragon, Zara starts to sing, because what’s a princess story without lovely singing? When out of the trees come a hug metallic dragon, whom in a few panels we learn that Zara’s magic singing turned Wheeler into a metal dragon.
The art by Nicolas Chapuis leaves more to be desired. It harkens back to animated princess stories -like the plot does- but it never truly brings beauty to the panels. It felt like watching an older VHS cartoon on a new TV – it looks good from afar, but up close it lacks substance. The art does feel like a perfect fit for this type of story but ultimately needed some fine tuning.
Final Thought: Classic princess story this is not. It takes a leap with some new twists injected with some old but never really takes of like a dragon Zara is searching for. Looking back at it I could just be to old for this read -who would want to admit that- but I don’t see it that way. For the beginning of a epic fantasy tale it did little to draw me into this world of robots and princesses. Which the premise alone sounds like a fun ride, but feeling more of a drag then a majestic dragon let’s hope the next issue picks up the pace.
Memorable quote: “Is anyone hurt?” -The Queen.
Yes, I am.