September 7, 2012

Review: Robyn of Sherwood offers a different spin on the Robin Hood story

If I told you I read a take on the Robin Hood story that I haven't heard before, you probably won't believe me. But it's true. It's not so much an entirely different take either as it is a continuation of the story. In this comic by Paul Storrie, Rob Davis, and Michael Larson, Robin Hood and Maid Marian's daughter carries on their legacy. Robyn is the kind of girl I wanted to be most when I grew up. I had moments of wanting to be a princess (and I don't think anything is wrong with that), but mostly? I wanted to be having the adventures I read about in books. As a kid, I would have idolized Robyn. As an adult, well, it's the same.

The synopsis:
 In the dark years since the death of Robin Hood, the former Prince John has proven himself one of the worst kings that England will ever know. Struggling under the burden of heavy taxes and royal whim, the people speak more and more of days past, when a brave yeoman rose from among them to stand against those who abused power and privilege. Furious that his enemy is remembered still, and fearful of what his example might inspire, King John orders a campaign to extinguish the memory of the Sherwood archer. The first step--to execute the surviving members of Robin's band!
  Now the only hope for the aging outlaws, and for England itself, lies in the shadows of Sherwood Forest, where Robin's legacy of rebellion is reborn in a startling new form...   ...his daughter, Robyn!
I don't have the collected version above, just the individual issues. I sat down intending to read just one of them and then switching to something else in my large stack of things to read. I read all four instead. The story is about Robyn but also about her father and mother and the names you know and revere: Little John, Will Scarlett, the Friar, Prince John (now king), you get the picture. It's not the stories you've heard 5,000 times before. Robin and Marian are gone, King John is a tool (okay, that's the same), and Robyn needs to rally the troops and find a way to inspire and lead just like her father did. She does a fine job of it, too.

I love the story, and I like the art  okay (I think a lot of that is personal taste though). Flashbacks fill in the gaps and show the tragic story of how Robin and Marian were betrayed. Flashbacks are not always my favorite things, but these were not clunky in the least nor did they detract from the flow of the story. Basically it comes down to this: if you like Robin Hood stories and/or tales with strong female leads, I think you'll dig this one. A lot.

You can get your copy of Robyn of Sherwood right here, or you can find Storrie at Baltimore Comic-Con this weekend.


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