Monday, 17 February 2020

Danger Girl Preview - Image Comics

Despite this publication printed in the late Nineties consisting of just eight pages, it is still easy to see from its pulse-pounding narrative that its storytellers Andy Hartnell and J. Scott Campbell were strongly influenced by “all the things we both grew up watching on television and seeing at the movies.” Indeed, such is the frantic pace set by Abbey Chase as the “heart-stopping femme fatale” flees an alligator infested swamp whilst simultaneously pursuing Donavin Conrad across Costa Rica, that many within its audience probably would not have been at all surprised to have seen George Lucas’ “homage to the action heroes of 1930s film serials”, Indiana Jones, make a surprise guest appearance; “If you don’t get that gun outta my face, an eye won’t be your only damaged organ.”

As it is though, this frustratingly short-lived “preview [successfully] gives you a glimpse of what Abbey’s capable of” by capturing all the excitement and high octane danger of Guy Hamilton’s 1973 spy film “Live And Let Die”, courtesy of a superbly re-imagined run across the backs of some crotchety crocodilians, which not only replicates Ross Katanga's heart-stopping stunt at a crocodile farm in Jamaica’s Montego Bay, but even directly refers back to its obvious James Bond roots by having the “freelance treasure hunter” exclaim “This never happened to Roger Moore!” when her tight trousers are tantalisingly torn by the snapping bite of a hungry gator and she inadvertently shows far more ‘cheek’ than she would have liked.

The collaborative creators’ “stereotypical aristocratic villain” Conrad is equally as much fun to read about however, with the one-eyed, thinly moustached rogue seemingly far too much in love with himself to realise the inherent jeopardy he is in whenever he gets within close proximity of his “sweet school girl crush”. Dripping greasy charm and a serious superiority complex, it’s clear the well-dressed criminal always has a secret escape route to hand, even when his nearby yacht is blown to smithereens, and this delusional “charming demeanour” contrasts really well with Abbey’s far more realistic, determination to “take that skull and shove it straight up his --”

Nevertheless, undeniably this book’s most compelling feature has to be Campbell’s astonishingly attractive artwork, which must surely have captured the imagination of any perusing bibliophile who happened to catch a glimpse of this comic upon the spinner rack. “Loosely inspired” by the East Tawas-born illustrator’s wife, Chase’s buxom defiance dominates every scene she features in, whether that be her simply being held to account by a pair of Donavin’s goons, athletically leaping to safety through a flurry of bullets, or dramatically driving a jeep headlong down a tortuously winding cliff road…

First published on the "Dawn of Comics" website.'
Story: Andy Hartnell & J. Scott Campbell, and Pencils: J. Scott Campbell

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