Nicnevin and the Bloody Queen
Written by Helen Mullane
Art by Dom Reardon and Matthew Dow Smith
Letters by Robin Jones
Colours by Lee Loughridge
Cover by Jock
Published by Humanoids
Release date: 20th August 2020
Nicnevin and the Bloody Queen
Nestled in the North of England, ina land steeped in magical history, a ghastly murder has been committed and Nicnevin ‘Nissy’ Oswald and her mother and brother have just arrived in town. However, Nissy is about to learn she’s more than just your average teenage girl.
Straight off the bat we know we are in for a story drenched in horror and folklore, which as regular Valkyries readers will know, we love. Nissy has been forcefully removed from her friends and her home in London and made to spend the summer in the village where her mum grew up. In the very cottage, her mother and grandmother lived in, which is referred to by the local’s as ‘The Witches’ cabin…
It is strongly hinted at that Nissy was getting into some trouble back in London and her mother worries about her, however, there does seem to be an undercurrent to her mother’s worry. Is this just teenage angst or are there other factors igniting something unseen within her? Strange things are happening in the village, and some of those strange things seem to be centred around Nissy.
Clues within in the panels
Cleverly placed clues in the panels let the reader know that all is not as it seems, however, some do reveal early on some of the later twists. Recurring motifs throughout the panels and pages, reinforce the themes and tones of Nicnevin and the Bloody Queen.
Nicnevin and all her angst
Readers may be surprised that this is Helen Mullane’s debut graphic novel, her writing and storytelling is both bold and confident. She is not afraid to blend the uncertainty and anxiety of being a teenage girl with folkloric horror. Mullane writes Nissy very well, her teenage angst is palpable. She has a turbulent relationship with her mother that get’s more and more strained with each passing day. Nissy is likeable, but it is hard to be fully sympathetic towards her. She is not at all pleasant to her family, makes bad choices and quickly takes an interest in a much older, handsome neighbour. However, looking back it makes me cringe I as recall the behaviour and my behaviour as a teen. Yikes.
A little vague and abrupt
The ending is really abrupt. If the series does not get a sequel, readers may find themself feeling a little abandoned. There is a lot of exposition and world-building at the beginning. However, Nissy’s background feels very vague, her family history feels vague. Through old diaries, Nissy gets to know her grandmother, a relationship I would have liked to have seen and explored further.
Whilst Nicnevin and the Bloody Queen is certainly bold in its folkloric leanings, other aspects do fall a little short, Panel sequences are at times difficult to follow especially with some being so busy. The art style really ties up the issue. A combination of striking visuals and vibrant colours give Nicnevin and the Bloody Queen eye-catching panels.
Nicnevin and the Bloody Queen is ideal for fans of a coming of age story with a dark twist. Unafraid of being violent, gruesome and well immersed in English folklore.
Nicnevin and the Bloody Queen is available to preorder now and due to be released August 20th 2020.
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