Monday, February 23, 2009

Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dale Hale

Most of us know the story of Rapunzel - the princess locked in a tower with super long hair and the prince that comes to rescue her by climbing up her hair. This graphic novel turns that story into a western with a far more independent Rapunzel. Interesting concept, yes, successful story, I'm not sold.

Rapunzel lives in a villa with Mother Grothel who has this amazing ability to make things grow. On her twelfth birthday, Rapunzel gets curious about what's on the other side of the wall and discovers a barren wasteland and mistreated slaves, including Rapunzel's mother (she never knew she was adopted!) Mother Grothel, angered at Rapunzel's disobedience, locks the girl in a giant tree for four years. During this time Rapunzel's hair grows exceptionally long. Come her sixteenth birthday, Mother Grothel visits and offers Rapunzel's freedom if she promises to be obedient, but Rapunzel refuses and she's left to die in the tree. This princess, though, isn't going to wait around to be rescued, so with her hair in the form of a lasso, she hooks a tree and swings to her freedom. She then meets up with a thief named Jack and his goose named Goldy. Together they steal and rescue their way through town on their way back to Mother Grothel's villa to teach her a lesson and to rescue Rapunzel's mother.

While it's nice to see a more independent "princess," I personally had a strong urge to chop off her braids. She used them as lassos, whips, fire twirlers, and rope for climbing. It seemed a little excessive to me, but, then again, what do you expect from a fairy tale / comic book? I don't know how I feel about the western setting. It's interesting, but I think I prefer more of a classic fairy tale setting. This graphic novel does have a sequel coming which I think will focus on Jack (as in Jack and the Beanstalk). Does this need a sequel, I don't know. I wasn't overly impressed with this book so I can live without a sequel. I just thought the whole thing with the braids was a little excess but maybe I just lack a good imagination. The authors did handle the transition from castles and knights to cowboys and thieves quite nicely. It was a flawless transition and it was encouraging to see a more self-reliant princess who doesn't need a prince to survive. Even when she's with Jack, she's the one in charge.

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