Nimona is a graphic novel by writer and artist Noelle Stevenson. You can read the first few chapters here.
Nimona is your ordinary impulsive teenage girl, but with an uncanny knack for doing evil. Oh, and she’s also a shapeshifter. When she signs up with the villainous Lord Ballister Blackheart to be his sidekick, they start to put some seriously nefarious plans into action, going up against Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, top hero at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics.
And it’s so cute! Nimona is such an amazing character — being a shapeshifter, she’s incredibly powerful, but she’s also very funny, using her powers to play practical jokes on Blackheart, but also on the reader. Blackheart is a sort-of villain-by-accident — he was in line to be top hero when he was at hero school, until Ambrosius bested him in a jousting match and he lost an arm. As a consequence, he’s trying to be just evil enough to fulfill the role he’s expected to play, while making sure no-one actually gets hurt. Nimona, of course, doesn’t appreciate any of this, so starts to cause some real havoc. The Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics is, predictably, perhaps not as heroic as it sounds (!), and together Nimona and Blackheart attempt to expose the corruption at its heart.
At the centre of the story is the friendship between Blackheart and Nimona, as they learn to trust each other and take on the world together. Blackheart was happy with the status quo until Nimona showed up, and at first he’s terrified by her impulsiveness, and she’s frustrated with his complacency. The book may be called ‘Nimona’, but really it’s Blackheart’s story, as she encourages him to fight for what he believes in, until the final, terrifying conclusion. And it’s really cute and funny and a bit sad. I challenge you to read the first few chapters (linked above) and see if you aren’t completely hooked by the end of them!
Nimona is available in its entirety from Amazon.