Comics, Reviews

Nimona: The Perfect Graphic Novel for Tweens

Dive into the world of "Nimona," the story of how a shape-shifting troublemaker and a would-be villain come together and redefine what it means to be a hero in a crooked world.

Nimona by ND Stevenson
Image: HarperCollins
By: Javier ReyesJan 25, 2024, 10:29 PM


Nimona Cover

Writer: ND Stevenson

Artist: ND Stevenson

Publisher: HarperCollins

Page Count: 272

Format: Comic

Nimona is a heartwarming adventure about two would-be villains who redefine what it truly means to be a hero.

Written and illustrated by ND Stevenson, "Nimona" is a web comic-turned-graphic novel that's been captivating readers since its publication in 2015. With its charming blend of humor, fantasy, and heartfelt storytelling, you can easily see why this graphic novel for tweens is an absolute page-turner. "Nimona" offers a delightful journey that weaves together themes of friendship, morality, and the challenge of finding one's place in a judgemental world.

“Nimona” follows the adventures of the titular character, a spunky, shape-shifting girl with a knack for mischief. She aspires to be the sidekick of the notorious Lord Ballister Blackheart, the villainous knight and former champion of The Institution. After some convincing and trickery, Blackheart accepts Nimona as his squire. Together they set out to expose the dark side of The Insituion and Ambrosius Goldenloin, the new champion and Blackheart's former friend. While Blackheart is labeled as a “villain” in their world, he operates on a strict moral code that prevents him from killing anyone. Nimona, on the other hand, has no problem with a bit of bloodshed. The beauty of “Nimona” is that it starts as a humorous tale of revenge and adventure and quickly grows into an exploration of personal growth and the true meaning of heroism and friendship.

Nimona and Blackheart meet for the first time.Image: Nimona Chapter 1

Art that Always Makes You Smile

From the opening pages, “Nimona's” charming and energetic art style grabs your attention and refuses to let go. The way Stevenson uses light lines, round shapes, and vibrant colors sets the stage for a playful and engaging world. Despite having simple facial features, characters have an expressiveness that makes them easy to connect with young readers. It’s just plain fun to see what kind of goofy antics the characters get themselves into as you flip from page to page.

One of the most striking aspects of “Nimona” is the story’s unique world. Stevenson masterfully created a world where magic and technology seamlessly weave together. One moment you’ll see knights parading down medieval streets, then see mad scientists dialing away on computers the next. But in all that madness, everything somehow makes perfect sense. The diversity and strangeness of its enchanting world make it one you can’t help but want to explore with every page.

Nimona is always up to no good.Image: Nimona Chapter 3

Characters with Complexity and Humour

The real magic of the graphic novel lies in its characters. Nimona's mischievous nature makes her an endearing protagonist, and her relationship with Blackheart provides a solid emotional core. While it often seems like Nimona drives Blackheart up the wall with her antics, they ultimately help each other grow as characters and form an unconventional yet compelling bond. Their friendship as an unlikely loveable duo is as heartwarming as it is inspiring, something tween readers will love to be a part of.

For a graphic novel for tweens, "Nimona" excellently challenges the cookie-cutter concepts of heroes and villains, presenting a more complex take on these roles. Blackheart may seem like your storybook villain, but as the story unfolds, they slowly reveal a heart of gold behind the dark and angry facade. He is a fascinating character as he defies the stereotypes of what’s considered a “villain.” Blackheart's struggle and journey of self-discovery and redemption prove that empathy and forgiveness can change lives.

Blackheart and Goldenloin share a moment.Image: Nimona Chapter 3

Resonant Themes for Tweens

"Nimona" is an endlessly fun adventure that hits hard with its impactful themes. The graphic novel tackles topics like identity, belonging, and heroism in a way that readers of all ages can easily connect to. Central to Nimona and Blackheart’s characters is that they are both bumbling their way through discovering who they are and how they fit into the world around them. Nimona's shape-shifting ability is a powerful metaphor for her fluid identity, while Blackheart's redemption arc reveals what it means to be good or evil. Behind the cartoonish art style and silly jokes is a compelling story about growth and self-discovery.

"Nimona" is the perfect graphic novel for tweens because it offers an engaging story filled with lovable characters, an enchanting world, and impactful themes. With its charming art, “Nimona” is a light-hearted jolt of fresh air that will leave teenage readers clamoring to explore more of this magical world and other similar stories.

Only Nimona can get a rise out of Blackheart.Image: Nimona Chapter 3
TAGGED: ND Stevenson, Reviews