Bit of a break this week as I jump forward to the newest issue of Raven, The Pirate Princess. But don’t worry, I’ll be back next week with my whole series retrospective on issues 5-9!
The newest issue of Raven, The Pirate Princess Year 2 takes us back to the ship after an episode following Sunshine and her new (girl?)friend Pavarti, Queen of the Ocean, on what can only be described as a first date. Titled “The Dreaded Pairing Off,” the issue acts as a sort of mid-run character reset. Everyone from Captain Raven down are assessing where they stand on the ship and with one person in particular, hence the title. Oh, and are super, duper gay.
The plot of the issue, such as it is, takes place entirely on the ship. There isn’t much movement in this issue. But the characters go through their own chances. A brief rundown:
- Raven tries to train Ximena to defend herself, but Raven’s exasperation at her trainee’s timidity and “girliness” might break their burgeoning relationship
- Helena and Trish deal with the latter’s latent guilt
- Jayla confesses that she can, in fact, hear to Cid.
- Katie copes with the fact that she is hot. Not only that, but according to Verity, everyone has a crush on her. Especially when she wears her tank top.
I’m a believer that any good comic should justify its medium. What this issue reads as is the quiet part of a good novel, not so much a good comic. Of course, any good comic has these bits of downtime, especially as they set up for the inevitable big climax. But looking back, it’s been awful quiet on the high seas for a while. For a comic that does swashbuckling pirate action so well, all the talk is a little underwhelming. To quote the great philosopher Elvis Aaron Presley: A little less conversation, a little more action, please
However, IN that conversation I think there’s some very interesting work being done. The interaction between Ximena and Raven is actually refreshing, as it is rare for the tomboy/girly-girl dynamic to go past the attraction stage to reveal the inherent issues with such pairings. While the dialogue from Ximena can be a little on the nose, something that this comic falls into easily when Whitley has a point to make, the drama and Raven’s genuine confusion more than make up for it.
The other girls have interesting stories, and it’s too the creative team’s credit that they can wring some emotion out of even the smallest interactions. The best story this issue is probably Katie’s, as the way she handles being the ship’s resident stud is incredibly cute. Plus, it’s refreshing to see a buff, more butch woman singled out as a rare beauty over some of her more traditionally beautiful team-mates.
I would definitely not recommend this as a jumping off point, but if you’re in love with the characters (and at this point everyone should be) then this is a great little interlude. As long as it pays off with some of those buckled swashes Ximena promised on the cover!