Writer: Adam Gallardo
Artists: Todd Demong (pencils and inks), Josh Perez (Colors)
Publisher: Arcana Studio
Plot: The book opens on a new girl (Olivia) having a dream. After she is comforted by her mom, GSI soldiers break into her house and capture her. Sylvia Mark, an exceptionally different 13-year old (the book's protagonist) and a group of other girls teleport Olivia away from the scene. Peter Chase and Dr. Carver have a talk with the director of the genetic solutions company, and Peter suspects he's hiding something. While Selina learns to adapt to her sisters and her predicament, more girls with fantastic abilities across the country are squaring off against their capturers. Finally, Carla and the others decide on a preemptive strike.
Similarities/Influences: Stop me if you've heard this one before. A teenage girl is more than what she appears. She has weird dreams on a nightly basis that seem to be harbingers of something dark (so did a certain denizen from a strange place called Sunnydale). What she doesn't know is that she's just one of a hundred girls bred as part of a genetics experiment that sought to give normal humans extraordinary powers (she wasn't born in a post-apocalyptic future but she could have been manufactured at a company named Manticore) while the GSI heavies border on M.I.B. and Matrix like territories.
Analysis: Someone one said that every concept has been explored and that the trick is to tell a story or narrative in a fresh, original manner. This certainly holds true for Gallardo's concept and narrative which owes much to previous sci-fi themed excursions and to Joss Whedon as much as to James Cameron. However, there are enough new elements here to allow us to enjoy a cohesive plot which seems to know exactly where it's taking us, like the fact the girls seem to have a psychic connection to each other. They don't just share a body, they share memories too. I can't seem to decide whether Demong's artwork detracts too much from the book. He certainly has his own style reminiscent of Humberto Ramos' work, with expressive often exaggerated facial features and eyes, but not exactly manganized. With the exception of Sylvia, his characters may not convey enough distinctiveness for the reader to make an emotional connection. Indeed, 100 girls may prove to be too many girls unless their unique powers render them as individuals aided by characterization and descriptive details from Gallardo. In panels where a bunch are grouped together, this may prove a difficult task.
Final Word: Derivative as it may be, 100 girls is still a fun excursion into a paranoid fantasy and like the best paranoid fantasies of its ilk, the pacing is well crafted, and there is a palpable sense of conflict and conspiracy. This book is like one sweet sci-fi comic confection: mix in some X-Files and add a dash of Dark Angel, let it sit and serve between the covers of a pair of vibrant purple colored covers. It goes down easy and leaves you wanting bigger helpings.
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