Review by Frank Plowright
Because there’s such an abiding humanity to Jeremy Whitley’s stories, despite the presence of one woman who’s half elf, its been possible to forget that Raven, the Pirate Princess is not a period piece, but a fantasy period piece. We’re given a memory nudge with Get Lost Together, which introduces an inaccessible community where many mythical people live.
As far as Raven’s crew know, a tragedy has occurred, and as of Two Ships in the Night they’re down one crew member. For much of this volume they’re secondary, though, as it concentrates on the missing Sunshine and where she’s found herself. Whitley’s been playing with the audience, and as he admitted in an editorial, Sunshine is too good a personality to waste by killing her for some momentary shock. However, it could equally be said that she’s too good a character to waste by spending much of the book providing a teasing romance story. While that’s always been a part of the series, it’s never dominated, and it transforms what’s been a good adventure series with romantic interludes into not such a good romance with action interludes. It’s a spreading infection, as when the spotlight does return to the crew, they’re all pairing off also. Whitley’s aware enough to pass a sardonic comment in-story, but doesn’t shift direction.
We have another new artist, and while Christine Hipp’s pages are fine, we’ve rather been spoiled by the efforts of Rosy Higgins and Ted Brandt over the first three volumes. Hipp’s backgrounds are minimal, and her versions of the cast aren’t quite as distinctive. They’ve also moved nearer to ideals of perfection, whereas before there was a greater variance to the way people looked. The art is good without paying much attention to the smaller details.
The final chapter, taking us into Assault on Golden Rock, does inject a little more excitement, but even then there are some puzzling aspects. A key scene is Raven embarrassing someone, subsequently discussed from an independent viewpoint, but although intended to show Raven can see a truth when it’s pointed out, her original behaviour in transmitting life-saving skills was equally valid. Anyone who’s really caught up the crew’s personalities is going to find this a better graphic novel than those expecting a continuation of tone, who it may well disappoint.