Friday, December 23, 2011

Danger Girl The Ultimate Collection

Aside from the Fables collections I don't really review comics here, but I'm going to make an exception with Danger Girl.

Before diving right in a little boring explanation is required. I first became aware of artist J. Scott Campbell when he worked on Image's Gen 13 (published under their Wildstorm banner). I personally felt that Gen 13 lost a lot when Campbell left the title to work on another project. That project was Danger Girl. I liked the idea of Danger Girl, but at the time I was collecting about eleventy million titles and didn't want to add another one to them. As it turned out Danger Girl's run wasn't really that long. It pops up now and then, but they always seem to be limited runs, and J. Scott Campbell only seems to have worked on the first 7.

I don't collect any titles as such anymore, I even wait for Fables to be collected before I buy them, but I do occasionally cruise the shelves of a local comic store to see if there's anything of interest, and that's when Danger Girl The Ultimate Collection caught my eye. I always liked Campbell's overtly sexualised depictions of attractive women in Gen 13 (no one did Catilin Fairchild the way he did, even with the oversized glasses and dorky clothes she still looked stunning). So I thought it would be worth trying his Danger Girl collection.

As soon as I opened the book and saw a caricature of legendary B movie actor Bruce Campbell, complete with an introduction I knew I was in for something special. I'm a Burn Notice fan, so love Campbell's portrayal of ex Navy SEAL Sam Axe, I also liked him in Brisco County Jr (when is that going to be released on DVD, damnit!) Bruce Campbell nails Danger Girl in his intro:

The women all seem to have upturned noses - cute, but not snobby. They also have either a mole or freckles - depending on whether they are sexy or stupendous. Bad girls, it appears get to wear fishnets and plenty of make-up. Anatomically speaking, they're genetically impossible, but it's a comic, right?

Men, if they're good guys, have straight, pointy noses and chin dimples.The bad ones get bigger, bumpier noses and chin dimples, but all of them sport physiques a WWF wrestler would envy.

In general, there is very good use of sweat and/or water - those are the wettest heroine T-shirts this side of Ft. Lauderdale!

I'd say the dental work is excellent all around.

The story and many of the characters are straight out of James Bond, with a dash of Indiana Jones thrown in.

Danger Girl is not one person, although most probably give heroine Abbey Chase that title. Danger Girl actually refers to the organisation of beautiful women put together by semi retired British spy Deuce. Deuce's name probably refers to the 00 title given to MI6 agents licensed to kill, like James '007' Bond, and he even looks like an older Sean Connery, with a better build, a beard and slightly more hair than the highly respected Scottish actor best known for his portrayal of the British super spy.

Danger Girl consists of beautiful, statuesque knife expert, former KGB agent Natalia Kassle, the curvaceous, leather clad, whip wielding Australian adventuress Sydney Savage, techno whiz kid Valerie Silicon, she could work anywhere in the field of techno communications, but likes the adventure of Danger Girl and secretly longs to be a field agent, she's younger and not quite as gorgeous as the operatives and is in this and her largely home base bound status not unlike M's super secretary Miss Moneypenny. They also have a couple of occasional male operatives in handsome and egotistical CIA agent Johnny Barracuda (involved in a love/hate relationship with Sydney) and the mysterious, but deadly Secret Agent Zero. The team was put together to confront and foil an emerging neo Nazi terrorist threat. Deuce deliberately targets perky American archaeologist and antiquities thief Abbey Chase as what Danger Girl need for their latest mission, locating and recovering an ancient and magical set of shield, sword and suit of armour, as her skills with guns, knowledge of history and knack of escaping from even the most impossible of situations are going to be very useful.

The villains are even more over the top than anything seen in James Bond. The blind ninja Assassin X, who has a connection and some sort of history with Zero. The villainous, but ineffective dwarf Kid Dynamo (who is really a slightly more deadly Nick Nack from Bond's The Man with the Golden Gun) and the overweight arms dealer Mr Peach. They're only a small sample and they do get crazier.

The action sequences are brilliant and leap up off the page. The opening double page panel is a drawing of a Bond opening credit and J. Scott Campbell's sumptuous pencils of beautiful nude silhouetted women put iconic Bond title creator Maurice Binder to shame.

Each issue even opens with a Bondesque pre title sequence. There's wit and humour in the art and the script. I had an absolute ball with Danger Girl The Ultimate Collection and would love the news about a possible movie to be true. My only real criticism is that J. Scott Campbell only did these 7 issues and I've seen other pencillers do it, but they just don't have Campbell's spark to their work, nor do they capture the characters as well as their creator.

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