Current Reviews


Daughters of the Dragon #5

Posted: Tuesday, June 6, 2006
By: Shawn Hill

Writers: Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti
Artists: Khari Evans (p), Palmiotti (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot: The macguffin is a super computer chip that can destabilize the world economy. Misty and Colleen want it back from that bitch Ricadonna, who stole it by chopping off Misty’s bionic arm last issue. AIM, Hydra, ninjas and the whole rest of the underworld also desire this thing, and the auction is tonight.

Comments: This is a weird little book that’s fallen off the radar. Doesn’t Jimmy Palmiotti deserve some love? Inker extraordinaire, pinch-hitting all over town, finally gets a book to co-write, and it’s a lot of fun.

Maybe it’s because the Daughters of the Dragon were never really solo stars. Their one solo book was a Marvel Black & White, and otherwise they’ve supported the X-Men, Deathlok, Luke Cage and Iron Fist for most of their appearances. Supporting characters they may be, but Palmiotti and Gray make a pretty good case for them as leads here, taking all their style cues from a very reliable source: Quentin Tarantino.

But this isn’t just an homage to Kill Bill. Like Tarantino, Gray and Palmiotti share a love for seventies Blaxploitation films. That is after all the era that inspired this distaff mix of Superfly and Bruce Lee. Comics were wise to tap into that zeitgeist then, and there’s no reason not to update it by way of tracksuits and hip-hop videos now.

The writers turn up the attitude, and Khari Evans de-ages the stars to give them the popular adolescent look. Kinky fits in just fine in action movies, however, and their attitudes and confidence as women belie their appearance as girls. Aesthetics have changed since the seventies.

Ultimately, this book is almost as clever as a few other Marvel titles at digging in the forgotten regions of Marvel continuity. Think She-Hulk and Runaways, and the fun Slott and Vaughan have with lame villains and human foibles revealed by silly costumes. Gray and Palmiotti may completely lack the subtlety of those writers: heck, this book is outright tacky. But so far we’ve had Orka the Killer Whale going to a gay bar, mockeries made of Whirlwind and the Rhino, a new mutant sidekick who’s in way over his head but luckily can’t be killed, and a villainess in Ricadonna who looks like Paris Hilton with a sword.

The writers are to be commended for waiting this long to bring in obvious guest stars. Iron Fist finally signs on for a supporting role to lady-love Misty, and this issue also provides one of the most revealing visits to the Punisher’s funny farm in memory when the girls decide they need to stock up on ammo.

Where else are you going to get a line like this: “The Mole Man has so much bling and no one to share it with”? You’re also of course going to get Colleen baring her boobs to her sparring partner the American Samurai at a crucial moment, and sex that breaks the furniture when Misty reunites with long-time lover Iron Fist. But brace yourselves for the final issue, because “girl, there’s going to be all kinds of kung fu up in here!”

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