Current Reviews


Powerpuff Girls #40

Posted: Friday, July 18, 2003
By: Ray Tate

"Everything You Know About the Powerpuff Girls is Wrong"

Writer: Ian Boothby
Artists: Philip Moy, Dave Tanguay(c)
Publisher: DC

We've all read stories where the author in all his or her hubris intends to throw out everything that everybody knows about a character and start anew with his own "better" origin. A good example of this egotistical phenomena comes from the Doctor Who novels. In the television series, the Doctor is a half-human Time Lord who cares for a granddaughter in the very first episode. He mentions his mother in the last episode. In the books he is a humanoid potato who lacks literal humanity. The Time Lords are sterile, and he is the product of a trite artificial reproductive device called the loom. There's more to it, of course, but the complete book origin of the Doctor would give any sane person a cerebral hemorrhage. I was hospitalized for months after reading Lungbarrow, or at least felt like it.

The Powerpuff Girls poke a lot of fun at silly super-hero conventions, but while satirizing the Girls retain their status as genuine super-heroes. The comic book usually follows suit, and although Ian Boothby from Simpsons Comics is a stranger to these pink, purple and green streaks, he comes up with hilarious segments that take a super-sized stab at the annoying cliche that has crippled the resonance of Power Girl, the Huntress and so many other heroes who have fallen victim to the title phrase.

It seems the students of Poaky Oaks Kindergarten where Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup learn their ABCs know more about the Powerpuff Girls than the television announcer who speaks their origin at the opener of every episode. The first such tale within a tale is the weakest in that the obvious Spider-Man tribute is followed by a recognizable Peter Parker sticking to the walls after being bitten by the proverbial arachnid. Way to hammer it home. There's also an inherent flaw in the faux origin story that immediately comes to mind. Where are all the rest of these super-powered children?

The second story is fantastic--as in Four, but here Mr. Boothby twists the way in which the trio receives their abilities. We do not hear the telltale tac-tac-tac of cosmic rays. Instead, he has something funnier and more surprising in mind.

The third segment while slightly bearing a resemblance to a classic tale involving a certain exploding planet introduces novelty with the reason why the Girls are sent on the fateful rocket. This one also features a humorous cameo by the Mayor and Ms. Bellhum his buxom secretary.

For most of the tales, Boothby tones down his usual surreal antics prevalent in Simpsons Comics. For the last one, he roots the segment in the infamous Tomacco episode of The Simpsons. The allusion however does not seem out of place. It fits the story, and it reflects a childish understanding of science: good given the narrators' ages.

Phil Moy imitates the Craig McCracken Colorform style of the series and beautifully evokes the various emotions of the characters within the limitations of that style. Standout moments include Bubbles' anxiety over boarding the rocket, Blossom's determination to learn how to fly the darn thing and the California Dreamin' version of a well known character.

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