Current Reviews


Liberty Girl #2

Posted: Saturday, December 2, 2006
By: Ray Tate

"The Return"
"All About Liberty Girl"
"Chicago, 1938"

Writers: Various
Artists: Various
Publisher: Heroic

Doc Savage possessed a nervous habit. He trilled. If excited or curious, the Man of Bronze trilled. He never did so consciously. Rather the trill came from his subconscious. The trill even proved hazardous to his health when trying to stealthily listen in on a villain's plans.

The creators of Liberty Girl seemed last issue to suggest that she was in fact Doc Savage's daughter. She even seemed to inherit Doc's habit of trilling. This issue, the creators back away from Liberty Girl's heritage with the speed of a herd of elephants in heat.

The narrator--big-busted Jacq--identifies the trilling as "a chant of power." Doc's trilling was always tuneless and most often compared to the call of a weird bird. At first I thought Mallonee's narration for big-busted Jacq was an attempt at overblown metaphor, but I soon abandoned that hope when the narrator starts blithering about "not recognizing the words but singing them all the same." No, Mr. Mallonee, it's just supposed to be trilling, an odd but charming part of Doc's character. It's got nothing to do with "love of god" or "standing fourscore against every form of tyranny." It's got nothing to do with "psalms" either. If we accept that Liberty Girl inherited Doc's habit, probable, then we must also accept that it's just trilling.

Defining Doc's trilling as some fanatic woman's goofball mantra denigrates the whole idea. Giving Liberty Girl Doc's trilling was a stroke of genius and created a subtle link to her father, but blowing the trilling out of proportion takes away the fun and makes it something different.

The second chapter of the story is far worse. The powers that be lock up Liberty Girl in a rubber room. Why she allows them to do this is beyond me, and believe you me, the way Liberty Girl was portrayed, she doesn't do anything she doesn't want to do. If she were looking to rest up after experiencing the culture shock of modern times, I'd recommend the Caribbean, the Riviera or a nearby spa not a de facto insane asylum.

Bad enough that the powers that be thanked Liberty Girl for thwarting a demon and saving the big-busted nutball from the first chapter by confining her to the booby-hatchery, but Ham Brooks, the shyster hound, starts blathering about Bush's "Axis of Evil." I may have been able to stomach such jingoistic nonsense had the artist or the writer not held up Bill O'Reilly as an example of integrity and disparaged Congressman John Murtha, an outspoken opponent of the War in the Iraq.

"But there are others, who out of fear, or ignorance, seek to tie our hands."

Let me explain. We tied your hands out of fear. Unlike bloated putzes such as Newt Gingrich we would rather trust The Constitution than your right wing zealots, Mr. Brooks, and like all good villains you gave us the rope.

Brooks further embarrasses himself by mistaking Columbus as the man who proved the world was round:

"Christopher Columbus was only one man. But with three small boats he changed the outlook of an entire world."

Well, the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria weren't in the same league as say the Spanish Armada, but they were hardly small either. More to the point Columbus wasn't "sailing the ocean blue" for science. He got lost on a voyage meant to find a shortcut to the Orient. He ended up in the Bahamas, not even America proper. Columbus then proceeded to, like all missionaries, destroy native culture. Columbus does not deserve to be honored with a holiday, and he certainly does not deserve being mentioned in the same breath as George Washington and Abe Lincoln.

Mallonee's knowledge of history seems to be founded from Bugs Bunny cartoons. Further proof comes from this curious addition:

"Was Betsy Ross more than one woman before her vision gave us an undying symbol of purity and value of a new constellation in the heavens."

Huh? Wha? "Undying symbol of purity and value?" It's a flag. It's a symbol of a country that is neither pure or a staunch defender of "value." The flag has also changed. A field of stars replaced the circle of stars, so you can hardly call the flag as Betsy Ross envisioned it "undying." That original flag "is pining for the fjords."

Betsy Ross at best can be called to quote the Doctor a "witty little knitter." Why not spotlight some women of history who actually did things? Rather than go weak at the knees for some glorified seamstress remind Liberty Girl, "America's Bronze Goddess," of Harriet Tubman's bravery. Ah, yes. Might upset the Red States. Can't have mention of a black American heroine, especially one that unfortunately reminds us of America's purity in slave trafficking.

The second story is puff piece on Liberty Girl. The usually reliable Daerick Gross creates high-heeled pin-up pieces for a final wedge against Doc Savage. Liberty Girl possesses "Psycho-Organic Powers." What the hell does that mean! Once again, too much description hampers the mystique of the character.

Mark Probst provides excellent, more suitable artwork for Liberty Girl's third adventure in the book. You'll find no high-heeled, exploitative poses here. While this third story's slight, at least it doesn't feature any proselytizing.

This issue of Liberty Girl suffers from unnecessary explanation, back pedaling from Doc Savage lore and a beloved character becoming a stupid, preachy right-wing windbag. Seriously, do you really believe Ham Brooks could possibly be so naive? He was a lawyer. He met Doc and friends during World War I. He should know that things in the real world--especially where wars are concerned--aren't black and white.

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