Sunday, April 27, 2014

I Reads You Review: DANGER GIRL: Mayday #1


WRITER:  Andy Hartnell
PENCILS: John Royle
INKS: Jose Marzan, Jr.
COLORS: Romulo Fajardo
LETTERS: Neil Uyetake
EDITOR: Scott Dunbier
COVER: John Royle and Jose Marzan, Jr. with Romulo Fajardo
VARIANT COVERS: John Royle and Jose Marzan, Jr. with Romulo Fajardo (subscription cover); Jamie Tyndall with Ula Mos (Yesteryear Comics exclusive cover); Jamie Tyndall (Yesteryear Comics exclusive cover); “No art” (Yesteryear Comics exclusive cover)
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (April 2014)

I was not a fan of fan-favorite comic book artist, J. Scott Campbell (who once went by the name Jeffrey Scott), early in his career.  I thought his art was a poor imitation of Art Adams’ style and an even worse impersonation of Jim Lee’s art.  However, I became a fan of Campbell’s work over the course of his run on Image and Wildstorm Production’s Gen13 comic book series.

So when it was first announced all those years ago, I was thrilled by the news of Campbell’s first creator-owned series, Danger Girl, as part of the launch of Cliffhanger, a sort of “young guns” imprint from Wildstorm.  After the release of a preview comic, Danger Girl #1 (March 1998) introduced a group of female secret agents whose adventures were a mixture of Indiana Jones and James Bond.  In fact, Danger Girl’s young female stars were like Bond Girls, except that the girls were the ones getting to be James Bond in action.

I liked Danger Girl.  It was a comic book version of a big-budget, Hollywood action comedy – Lethal Weapon meets Charlie’s Angels.  However, I grew frustrated that Campbell, along with writer Andy Hartnell and inker Alex Garner, only produced seven issues of Danger Girl over a four-year period.  [If you want to give them credit for 10 issues because two of the seven issues were double-sized and because of the preview comic book, you can certainly do that.].

Scott Dunbier, the Wildstorm editor of the original series, has guided Danger Girl back to life in recent years through a series of miniseries.  I was visiting a “local” comic book shop when I spotted the first issue of the latest mini, Danger Girl: Mayday.  I would have ignored it, as I have been ignoring Danger Girl comic books for a decade, but that spectacular first-issue cover by John Royle (pencils), Jose Marzan, Jr. (inks), and Romulo Fajardo (colors) caught my eye.

If there is such a thing as classic Danger Girl art, Danger Girl: Mayday #1 has it.  Royle and Marzan recall the original Danger Girl art team of J. Scott Campbell (pencils) and Alex Garner (inks).  In fact, I think Royle and Marzan are doing better J. Scott Campbell than Campbell himself.  Royle has certainly mastered the Campbell good-girl art thing:  curvy hips, shapely breateses; and booty that recalls Vivica Fox’s stripper pole ass in Independence Day.  Gimme more.  Royle and Marzan, however, are not merely copying; the drawing and storytelling is polished, professional, and some of the year’s best art.

Oh, the story, you ask.  It involves Danger Girl traitor-ho, Natalia Kassle, if I’m correct.  But I’ll figure that out later, maybe by the second issue.  For now, I want to enjoy the art of Danger Girl: Mayday.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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