4 reasons why you should read Noelle Stevenson’s wicked funny, heart-melty story, NIMONA

Teenager Nimona is a spunky shapeshifter hunkering for some good ol’ fashioned villainy. Whether it’s due to her impressive magical abilities or her knack for worming her way into the blackest of hearts, she somehow lands a job as a sidekick for Ballister Blackheart, “the biggest name in supervillainy”. Blackheart has plans to take down his archnemesis, the kingdom’s hero Ambrosius Goldenloin, by infiltrating the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics and revealing to the world that they are up to something other than heroism. With Ballister’s careful planning and Nimona’s boundless enthusiasm, villain and sidekick make an unstoppable pair. But, the Institution is more powerful and insidious than they ever realized. Will the Institution succeed in their nefarious purposes or will the true heroes rise to the challenge?

In between acts of villainy, are plenty of hijinks and attempts at “parenting” and a growing of friendship and trust. Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona illustrates warmth and wit in every panel to deliver an epic of a story wrapped in trappings made of the fantasy and superhero tales we love so well.

I had so much fun reading Nimona that I made an attempt to list out the reasons why to try to convince you to give it a read, too!

Here are 4 reasons why you should read  Noelle Stevenson’s wicked funny, heart-melty story, NIMONA!

 1. A villain that isn’t really a villain, a hero that isn’t really a hero, a monster that isn’t really a monster
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Ballister Blackheart looks like a supervillain but I swear he’s got the meltiest of hearts!

Ballister Blackheart might have the scars, goatee, and squeaky metal arm that we expect a typical villain to have, but his heart is far from black. When he rages kingdoms aren’t destroyed—he’s really just scolding Nimona for almost getting herself killed and coming home to Blackheart HQ past midnight. In fact, the most horrible thing he does is ruin movie night and put sardines on Nimona’s pizza…

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Ambrosius Goldenloin looks golden (down to his package) but it’s all just a job to him—is his heart really in it?

Ambrosius Goldenloin might wear the familiar shining armor (and have the shining golden hair) of a hero but he does the opposite of protecting children and acts all too much like a minion doing the dirty work for the evil behind-the-scenes Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics. Also, he takes far too long to apologize when he’s done wrong.


Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Nimona might have some monster-like abilities but most of the time she’s just being a teenager and annoying the heck out of Ballister

Nimona might enjoy stirring up chaos and panic a little too much while in her various creature forms, but she’s not a monster—she’s more likely a lonely teenage girl who’s looking for people to love her and accept her for who she is. More likely than not the most headache she causes is when she doesn’t listen to Ballister, has an attack of the Teenage Mood Swing, and starts thinking she can make her own “doors”.

At the root of the real conflict is the Institution that gave them the labels for their own sinister purpose. It makes perfect sense that Nimona—our resident shapeshifter girl who can’t be pinned down—will take the lead in destroying those labels in an epic battle-out at the end of the story and make the world safe for everyone to just be themselves.

2. A bit of Science and Magic, a bit of Medieval and Modern, a whole lot of somethings in between

DSC09032To hell with the rules! If there needs to be communication consoles and fire-breathing dragons, supercharged armor and witches that bestow magical gifts, pizza deliveries and jousting festivals— all in the same world then so be it. It almost feels as if Noelle Stevenson mashes up and adds in all the ingredients on a whim but it’s all done in a genius way by an artist who knows how to charm a story into a person’s heart—and make a person crack up on every page. The motley assortment of props for the world give the story a flavor that is just the right amount of nostalgia and geekery over all our favorite sci-fi and fantasy tropes. Most importantly, the world isn’t what’s important —the story and characters are. Hence I am okay with the use of board games as a device for furthering paternal bonding.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Nimona enjoys messing with Ballister, especially when it comes to his love of Science
3. Cheeky, lively humor of the “Look look! Isn’t this funny?” variety that will annoy the hell out of some random stranger

Whether it’s in the dialogue or in the artwork, the humor is tongue-in-cheek and both familiar and surprising but totally on point! The artwork for Nimona, in particular, totally captures her capriciousness, curiosity and impishness all of which adds to her likability. There is also such an adorable humor in the back-and-forth between her and Ballister that endears the hell out of them to readers.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Nimona won’t sit still! She’s constantly animated!
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Boardgame night ends well at Blackheart HQ.
4. An ending that will make you tear up in a good way

Nimona startsDSC09028 off light-hearted but allows the story to gather depth as you go until you finally reach an emotionally satisfying ending you may not have expected at the beginning. All the major character arcs are given their due time to develop but we don’t get a neatly packaged ending—we get a more authentic and raw one. The sort of ending that will make all those scenes before it so much more precious to enjoy. I won’t reveal more because I don’t want to spoil you, but the ending has definitely left my heart full to the brim!


Rating: 4.5 sharks!


  1. I’m super excited to read this, especially since I have a copy of my own. Your review was just what I needed to kick me in the butt and get me to read it, which I hope to do soon:-)

  2. I can’t disagree with one single reason on that list! I adored Nimona (I really need to write my review for this one!!) and was so sad when I reached the last page. I loved all of the characters, and loved the blend of medieval/modern/sci-fi. I’ve been on a comics & graphic novels kick lately but Nimona is still one of the best I’ve read this fall! I’m glad you loved it too – and loved that you rated it in sharks 😀

  3. That panel where she makes herself look just like him and says “SCIIIIIEEEENCE” is maybe my favorite panel in the whole book. Oh yay I am glad you loved this like I do. I have been recommending it right and left this year, and giving it as a gift to as many people as I possibly can. 😀

  4. Jenny – I love her noodle arms when she groans SCIIIIENNCEEE! hehe I think my favorite panels are probably the ones where Ballister and Nimona are enjoying movie night and Ballister is just totally ruining it with his *logic*. Such a cute story, makes me feel all warm inside, and the ending is so emotionally powerful, too!

  5. Kay – The last panels were so bittersweet!! I’m so glad that Noelle Stevenson added in those extras post-story (the xmas special was especially cute!!). But yeah, after reaching the end, I re-read the whole graphic novel again just to re-experience the awesomeness.

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