Elsewhere Review – J. Scott Campbell and Andy Hartnell’s Danger Girl: The Ultimate Collection

Read the original piece (okay, I wrote this in 2003) HERE at Green Man Review!

Let’s face it; if you spent your life stealing stuff to make a living, wouldn’t it be tempting to chuck your “career” for a guaranteed gig with a group of save-the-world types? Especially if that group just saved your bacon? If your thought was “sure, why not,” then Danger Girl: The Ultimate Collection could be right up your alley.

In Danger Girl, Abbey Chase is an “adventuress” (read: thief of the Indiana Jones ilk) that has a heist interrupted by oily nemesis Donavin Conrad. Just when Abbey thinks she’s escaped his clutches, she finds herself in big trouble. But she’s rescued by the Danger Girl team, a group of highly trained, highly voluptuous women who save the world from the Bad Guys. Despite Abbey’s worries about fitting in with a team and being on par with the rest of the girls, she joins up. Good thing too, because her expertise in ancient civilizations and languages are exactly what the team needs to succeed in their current case. Think “Raiders of the Lost Ark” with spandex.

Does Abbey have to contend with all sorts of obstacles in order to get the job done? Of course. Just about everything goes boom, arch-villains pop up at every turn, not everyone is on the up-and-up, and each chapter/issue ends with someone’s Apparent Doom. Plus, her undercover gear is much too small, to her dismay, but in all honesty it’s hard to fathom how she even noticed the difference from the usual Danger Girl attire. Oh yeah folks, if you’re thinking these girls suit up in fatigues, you’re in the wrong series. In Danger Girl, the ladies are kitted up in outfits that would have She Hulk and Vampirella bringing the Girls something to cover up with.

The inner five-year-old in me thinks the best marketing for this series would be a “Got Boobies?” campaign. Because seriously, you know you’re looking. Hell, I’m looking. You can’t help yourself. They’re in your face, and this collection ain’t even 3D. Abbey’s flashin’ tush by page four, and this collection stays just as titillating throughout. As a woman I’m sure I should be offended/flabbergasted/spouting off some sort of Subjugation Of Women claptrap, but this series is just too beautifully drawn to be anything less than breathtaking. This is some of the best ’90’s-era graphic novel artwork that I’ve seen, with amazing attention to detail and gorgeous color. Even the lettering — typically something that barely registers as the pages flip — is just as hip and colorful as the art itself, without taking away from the movement of the story. Plus, the girls are kickass, and what woman wouldn’t love that? (You conservatives in the back can Just Sit Down.)

As far as the story goes, with the not-so-subtle nod to Indiana Jones-type, rock-’em-sock-’em action, the pages turn quickly. Every chapter/issue has a cliffhanger that will kill any idea of “just one more page before bed.” Sure, the eye-candy is a major draw (and is probably rather distracting for the fellas), but the story is just so much fun it’s easy to get carried right along. And Abbey Chase is an endearing character that looks poised for quite a bit of development in the collections that follow.

The introduction by Bruce Campbell (no relation) sets the tone of this collection nicely. Scott’s artwork, a tongue-in-cheek piece with Bruce sitting by the fire, had me staring for quite some time, just so I could take in all the shout-outs. There’s a sketchbook at the end that shows how the comic gets drawn, and a fold-out poster of the Danger Girl team. What, you didn’t think this collection would leave out a centerfold piece, did you? Get real.

Looking for a fun, quick read that’s so over-the-top you’ll want to share with your friends? If you don’t mind the possibility that you may never get it back because someone “mislaid” it (or you get it back so thumbed-through you might as well buy another copy), Danger Girl is just the ticket for a bit of summer escapism. Be warned; this series is addictive, and you may end up searching for the sequels.

(Wildstorm, 2002)

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