Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lost in the stacks. (Bad Girls)

I love comic books. I've been collecting for roughly the last decade. However, I'm not drawn toward traditional titles. Somehow, I gravitate toward limited run titles. These comics, more often than not, fall through the cracks and are forgotten, lost to time. This column aims to shine a light on these titles and, hopefully, make them some new fans...or draw out the old ones.

Let's face it: it's never easy being the new kid in school (it's never been me, but I imagine it's hard to endure), but that's just what Lauren has to deal with. Her first day sees her colliding with uber-nerd Ronald, as well as making the acquaintance of the popular girls - Ashley, Destinee, Brittany and leader Tiffany. The clique unknowingly ingests a strange liquid taken from the school's plumbing, bestowing them with awesome abilities.

I'm just gonna expose the elephant in the room: yes, this is Mean Girls with superpowers. What of it? (Of course, this predated the movie by half a year, so think of this as hearsay.) Sometimes, it's not the story you tell as much as how you tell it.

For the most part, the character work is good. One could quibble about the lack of dimension in the clique (and, now that I think of it, it would've been nice if their powers reflected some kind of inner flaw), but at least, they were entertaining to read, unlike a number of projects where the writers go so far with the bitchiness of the popular girls that you spend more time wishing gruesome deaths on them than being entertained.

Also, in re-visiting this for the first time in years, I'm struck by just how Ronald was presented. He's socially awkward, a science geek and into comic books. Surely, there were a couple more traits to be worked in? Still, it's kind of nice to see that his moral compass isn't always pointing north.

Lauren is a good lead; angry at herself for currying favor with the clique, but still trying to do the right thing. She makes a friend in snarky outsider Simone, who I really wish there was more of. Likewise, the hunky Caleb, who catches Lauren's eye.

Writer Steve Vance throws in a nice twist for Lauren that leads to many amusing moments in issue #3. Likewise, the aspect that the girls decide to use their powers for selfish exploits such as scoring beer and shoplifting outfits pleased me far more than if the girls had become a junior league clique of Star Sapphires.

Less effective is the rushed way that the story ties itself together in the last issue. (Having bought the issues in their original run, I was disheartened to see the cover tally for the issues go from '#3 of 6' to '#4 of 5' and, under the circumstances, I guess Vance did the best he could.) Just what were the agents ultimately searching for?

Another aspect that strikes me is the artwork. The realistic work by co-creator Jennifer Graves in the first issue stands in marked contrast to the cartoony work by Christine Norrie and J. Bone in subsequent issues.

This is a very fun title and well worth the search.

Grade: B+

Availability: The five issues were collected as a TPB, which can be purchased at

P.S. There's a moment in issue three where...I'm not sure if it was serious or a joke on the part of Vance, but...

Hope springs eternal, Simone.



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