Writer: Zeb Wells
Artists: Clay Mann (p), Terry Pallot (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: Things in the Savage Land arenít going so peachy, as all the giant bugs and wild apes have got Misty, Black Cat, and Tarantula especially on edge. Paladin, Humbug, Shang-Chi and Colleen are all trying new methods of bonding to cope, but thatís not going too well, either.
Comments: Wells has managed to capture the general tone set down by Palmiotti and Gray over some 15 issues of this incarnation of Misty and Colleen adventures, which involves badass girls who love to fight with hearts of gold they reserve for those few who deserve them. Think Tarantinoís portion of Grindhouse with better guns.
Humbug (up until this issue, maybe, when he gets a Penance-style makeover) is comic relief, Shang-Chi is the closest thing any other member of the strike force has ever seen to a moral center, and Paladin is a creep they have to deal with for the duration.
Well, at least they havenít had to deal with Ka-Zar or Shanna or Zaladane or Sauron this time, the usual denizens of the Savage Land that time forgot. This mission has been a full-on zoological madhouse, and the way the islandís bugs feel about Humbug (so used is he to New Yorkís insectile infestations, so out of his element here) may be the most interesting part of his bizarre tale.
Colleen and Misty canít help but laugh at their assignment, involving as it does Devil Dinosaur and Moon-boy, and we readers who just dealt with this prehistoric Dino in rare form in the brilliant (and lamented) NextWave! canít help but giggle right along with them. Itís funny too how all the wild animal pheromones drive the Cat to Paladin (or is he taking advantage of an injured woman?) and Shang-Chi to the spider (or is she seducing an naive man?). Even Colleen is taking a liking to Moon-boy, and Dino is feeling broody, too (shades of the last Godzilla film?). This horny crew needs off this island, fast, but the conveniently intense insect action seems to be pointing towards a very timely (and green-hued) encounter in their very near future.
Which is good because this is really a crew that works best in a gritty urban world. New regular artist Clay Mann is a step above the fill-in artists of the past several issues, but his style (gritty and not anime at all, a bit Michael Lark-esque, with a twist of sketchy Vertigo house-style) is a rather abrupt change in tone. At least it tones down the bulging body parts but not as much as Michael Goldenís brilliant cover, which miraculously features our four female main characters and focuses (strangely?) on their faces rather than their other body parts (aided by some really nice coloring that draws us back to their expressions and hair).
That boon is apparently not to last, however. More Golden, stat!
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