Rapunzel didn’t grow up in a tower in some grim European forest: she grew up the pampered daughter of a witch in a sumptuous manor surrounded by a high wall in something like the American West. She was shut up in a gaint magical tree (it’s a tower-like structure) after she discovered that outside the manor were miles and miles of nasty mines run by the witch – whom Rapunzel had always called Mother – and in which her real mother worked as a slave. Bored in the tower, Rapunzel began to practice acrobatics and figured out that her ever-growing hair, when braided, could be used for the rope and lasso tricks she learned from a guard when she was younger. Thus, she frees herself and sets out on adventures in this rather Wild West.
This leads me to the book’s awesomeness:
Weaponized hair. Weaponized hair!
No damsel-in-distress, handsome-prince-to-the-rescue thing.
Alas, now I must discuss the book’s less-than-awesomeness.
As seems to be becoming usual, I was disappointed by a lack of use for the niftiness of the comic format. The most blatant failure of Rapunzel’s Revenge was overuse of first-person narration/inner monologue. An occasional thought-block in a comic can be used to great effect, but overuse weakens the narrative and denies the art its central role in conveying the emotional states of the character. If the character is speechless, you don’t need use words to tell us that she’s speechless.
Mostly, I just had a sense of potential unrealized; the concept is great, but it never rises much above silly.
Maybe it’s time for me to give up on graphic novels that didn’t start their lives as comic books. I just keep being disappointed.