Danger Girl Renegade #1 Review

Danger Girl is one of those series that helped define creator-driven comics in the late 1990s. J. Scott Campbell and Andy Hartnell set out to tell a better spy story than had been done with comics ever. For the most part they succeeded, but by being a series of mini-series and specials, it hasn’t achieved the same status as many other breakout independent comics of the modern era. What also hurts is that J. Scott Campbell, the superstar artists whose reputation launched the series hasn’t drawn more than covers for the series since completing the original mini-series.

When the first issue of the newest Danger Girl mini-series, Danger Girl Renegade arrived on my desktop, I had to give a read. I’m working on an article tied to Danger Girl co-creator J. Scott Campbell, so I wanted to read the series with fresh eyes. Is it worthy of inclusion into a collection of great medium-expanding comics or is it just something else that follows the trend of giving the readers already there more of what they want.

Danger Girl Renegade 1Danger Girl Renegade # 1

Andy Hartnell (w)
Stephen Molnar (a)
J. Scott Campbell (c)
FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Solicitation:
Abbey Chase is renowned across the globe as a brilliant young archeologist and (a bit less renowned) as a member of the super-secret spy organization known as Danger. But what set of circumstances lead Abbey to become who she is—who trained and shaped her into the remarkable person she is? Now, for the first time ever, Danger Girl readers will find out the answer to these questions and more… in Danger Girl: Renegade!

Review:
The story is straight-forward enough, showing young Abby Chase as a capable girl, pursued around the world, yet never knowing where her father is, although assuming that he is alive. Her relationship with her guardian, David is only briefly touched upon, but could have used more development. As it is, he isn’t much more than a cipher. In the present day story, Abby’s associates are killed and their heads shrunken, which a quick Google search reveals to be a long process. This makes the fast paced story feel like it is the culmination of a longer adventure, but given that no one is carrying any provisions, seems unlikely.

DG_Renegade_01-pr-6

That’s my problem with the issue. Stephen Molnar’s art is pretty, evocative of Terry Dodson, but is completely unresearched, and breaking such basic logic that it jolts me, as a reader, out of the story. In Cairo, circa 2003, there is a scantily clad snake dancer in the street, which given the social climate, seems very unlikely, even in a tourist trap area. Cairo is also one of the most crowded cities in the Middle East, but doesn’t seem to have that much density to a marketplace.

After being completely submerged in an Ecuadorean river, she still looks completely dry, including her white top. The final page has Abby in a pose that would make Escher Girls explode, but this is Danger Girl, so I’m actually surprised that there isn’t more of these kind of poses. I would guess that its progress.

Danger Girl Renegade isn’t a bad comic, but it’s not a particularly good one. I’m not certain what the story actually is yet, except that it supposedly has something to do with Abby searching for her father. Unfortunately, that is implied only by the story starting with a flashback, and by nothing actually stated by Abby in the present day. I worried that the comic would be giving fans of Danger Girl just what they wanted instead of trying to draw in new readers. In today’s expanding comic book market with more and more female readers, this comic could have done so much more to have a broader appeal, but it completely fell short in that regard.