Jarad Greene’s graphic novel Scullion romps through its medieval setting with humor, surprises, and a positive attitude.
Darlis works as a dishwasher for the royal family. His mother has plans for him to follow her into the apothecary trade, but he’s more interested in baking. He’s also a big fan of Riqa, a famous warrior and author who’s about to be married to the crown prince.
As the celebrity-obsessed town prepares for the wedding, two young trolls on a mission from their Fagin-like master decide to kidnap Riqa and hold her for ransom, but they snag Darlis by mistake. Using brains, brawn, and tips from Riqa’s book, Darlis and his scullion friend Mae, along with the real Riqa and the prince, set things right.
The book’s turns require some suspension of disbelief: a teenage boy is mistaken for an adult, woman warrior, and a prince disguises himself as well. Able explanations couple with raw narrative energy and momentum well, though, resulting in a wacky, funny farce that carries implicit messages about identity, heroism, friendship, and happiness. In addition, the book shines a revealing light on the silliness of celebrity worship and on the dangers of trying to live up to one’s public image.
Greene’s art is bright and clear, with recognizable expressions, smooth storytelling, and occasional sparks of unexpected creativity, as with Darlis’s mini-harp-and-headphones personal music player; anachronistic but delightful, it contributes to the book’s enjoyment.
Uplifting and entertaining, Scullion is a cheerful comic fantasy adventure.
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