Danger Girl #1 (March, 1998)
Pencils/Plot/Creator - J. Scott Campbell
Script/Plot/Creator - Andy Hartnell
Inks - Alex Garner
Computer Coloring - Ben Dimagmaliw, Guy Major & Justin Ponsor
Color Guides - Joe Chiodo & Martin Jimenez
Lettering - Comicraft's Dave Laphear
Editor-in-Chief - Scott Dunbier
Special Thanks - Sandra Hope
Cover Price: $2.95
Whattaya call an imprint of an imprint? Today we're going to be taking a look at a comic from the Cliffhanger! line of the WildStorm imprint... of Image Comics (shortly before it was owned by DC Comics, natch). Ay yai yai.
We open with a bit of a recap from the goings on in Danger Girl #0. Abbey Chase loses the (elusive) Golden-Skull of Koo-Koo Diego to Donavin Conrad, noted scoundrel, as the Danger Girls are (unbeknownst to her) trying to track her down. The last issue apparently ended with Abbey driving a Jeep of a cliff. Hey, a real... ahem, Cliffhanger! Caught up? Good.
Our real open features a chubby man called Duncan on a beach talking to a fella by the name of Deuce via a pineapple video-phone thing. He assures Deuce that everything's cool... and Abbey will be fine... just as we shift scenes to her plummeting off a cliff in that Jeep!
She bails out before it lands with a kersploosh as we see Donavin celebrating his believed-to-be clean getaway with the Golden Skull. Abbey goes underwater and just happens across a harpoon gun! She fires it at Donavin's boat and hitches a ride. Hovering above, the Danger Girls look on and comment on what a mess Abbey has made.
Abbey climbs up onto the boat as Donavin continues to gloat... he's really quite a character. She socks the creep, as some fellas with Jamaican accents watch on. They open fire on the boat... fillin' that sucker full of holes. Abbey is afraid they're about to go under, so Donavin does what any man fearing for his life would do... makes a boob-joke.
Abbey and Donavin fight as the boat takes on water. Abbey kayos him (and his toupe) with a helluva kick. Just then a blonde on a rope ladder enters the scene offering our lady a hand... which she accepts, with reservations. Abbey, this mystery woman, and the Golden Skull fly off as the boat goes over a waterfall... and explodes!
Later, we meet a couple more members of the Danger Girls. One is a tall brunette in a catsuit, the other is a short-haired red head with glasses and freckles... clearly, the "accessible" or "approachable" member of this troupe. The pair are arguing over what to watch on television when Abbey and the blonde enter the room. The manner of dress for these characters is... ya know, gratuitous. Abbey's clothes are barely even hanging onto her body.
Next we meet Deuce. He's basically Sean Connery as James Bond. He details his prior exploits as... well, more or less James Bond. He had to leave Her Majesty's Secret Service due to the worst thing to ever happen... World Peace. Well, not really... but at this point there weren't many Communists or Nazis to fight, so he got laid off.
Now we get our proper introduction to Team Danger Girl as Deuce attempts to get Abbey to join up... Former Russian Intelligence Agent Natalia Kassle, Australian bullwhip artist Sydney Savage, Techie (heh) Silicon Valerie... and finally, our Lara Croft/Nathan Drake/Indiana Jones-ish Abbey Chase... well, if she decides to become a "Danger Girl", that is.
Later that night, we get... for lack of a better term, a Danger Girl pajama party. Valerie is in her jammies, and the other two are in various forms of undress. Outside, Abbey is chatting with Deuce... expressing reservations about becoming a spy for him. It doesn't take all that much coercing for her to change her mind... and so, she is given her first mission. She is to check in on a fella going by the name "The Peach" who is into stealing stuff from museums. Here we go from PJ party to dress-up, as Abbey changes into the naturally too-small costume of a French waitress. She heads in to plant a bug (in the form of an olive) at his table, and gets whapped on her fanny for her trouble.
Next... The Peach, well... eats the olive-bug, and murders the man he is dining with.
A shootout commences... which leads to a high-speed chase. Abbey hops into Sydney's car and they are now in hot pursuit. Syd is able to hop from their car onto the baddies' truck. One of the Peach's men hop onto the Danger-1... but gets ejector-seated (and subsequently run over by a truck) pretty quick. Abbey exits a tunnel and finds herself right in the cross-hairs for a pair of helicopters.
Well, that was some ridiculous fun, wunnit?
Sure, it's silly... maybe a bit shallow, but damned if I didn't enjoy it. The concept in and of itself is pure nutty action movie fun. It embraces the gratuitous nature of both it's high-octane pace and the... ya know, attractiveness of the protagonists. I appreciate how it walked that line between taking itself seriously and embracing its exaggerated bits.
Before we get into the story... we gotta talk about the art. J. Scott Campbell is just... an amazing artist. I can understand if folks have reservations about his style, or his subject matter, but I think most of us can agree that this book looks phenomenal. Everything here looks great... the pencils, inks, and color. It really is a beautiful book in an era where too many comics were experimenting with computer colors and glossy paper to worry about making an actual "nice looking" comic book.
I first experienced J. Scott Campbell's art in, of all places, an issue of Nintendo Power. It was the second issue of my first subscription wayyyy back in 1989 (Issue #6, May/June, 1989 to be exact... I received my Nintendo for Christmas 1988). In the back of the issue, there was some concept art for a would-be (ultimate) video game called Lockarm... which was drawn by a... (15 year-old!) Jeffrey Scott Campbell! Pretty crazy, right? I came across my old trove of Nintendo Power back issues a few years back, and that's when I discovered/realized this. The internet, however, already seemed to know. In case you weren't aware, here is that page from the issue:
So yeah, big fan of Campbell's art. Whether it be here, Gen13, covers for Amazing Spider-Man, or wherever... it's always quite impressive, at least to me.
The story? Well, it's crazy over-the-top action... and, as I've said a few too many times already, it's a lot of fun. We don't really get to "meet" the cast just yet, outside of their specialties... besides the unfortunately named "Deuce"... who is pretty much a semi-retired 007. I'm not much of an action-movie kinda guy... or any movie, for that matter... I can't sit still long enough for any of that... so, I couldn't say if any scenes here are cribbing from famous flicks... I'll bet there was some inspiration taken though. Not a bad thing... or even a good thing. I suppose if you pick up on it, it's great... and if you/I don't, it doesn't really matter.
Overall, this is a neat little read... doesn't require all that much thought (and that's not meant as a slight in any way... we all need a bit of "mindless" entertainment every now and again)... the art is absolutely gorgeous... definitely worth snagging if you find it at a decent price. Issue #1 is available to purchase digitally at Comixology. If you're on the fence, Danger Girl #0 is also available digitally... and is completely FREE. I'd say it's definitely worth a few minutes of your time.
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