A fugitive king finds his queen and his true calling in this trilogy closer.
In a final outpouring of wordy, labored storytelling, prince John and his saintly friend June elude the clutches of evil Lord Von Dronus, then persuade Von Dronus’ puppet king to act so silly and disrespectful that Parliament abolishes the monarchy altogether. This ploy sends the suddenly powerless bad guy scurrying off, which leaves June free to reopen her mobile food pantry and John to pursue his vocation as an artist—plus, to close on a traditional note, pop the question. (“All of these recent events have been quite, quite incredible,” marvels a character with perfect accuracy.) As in his previous episodes, Ryan layers silhouettes over cut-paper backgrounds in a range of, usually, murky colors to create atmospheric illustrations that heighten the drama but also make large swathes of the superimposed, low-contrast text hard to read. The figures are usually solid black, but the artist sometimes tints them faintly to show that beneath her two kinky ponytails June has darker skin than her beloved companion.
Admire the pictures, skip the thoroughly overblown text. (Illustrated fiction. 11-13)