By Dustin Cabeal
If you’ve followed the site and my podcasts for a while now, then you can count on three things when I talk/review a Dynamite comic. The first is that I never go easy on them (nor anyone for that matter). The second is that I’ll always give them a chance. The last isn’t really a rule of thumb or anything, but I’m rarely impressed with their licensed work… which is most of their publishing slate.
I didn’t think I would read, yet alone review Bettie Page. Not that I have anything against Page, but rather I had no idea how you make a comic about her that can somehow top The Rocketeer. The short answer is that you probably can’t, but we’ll see where this book goes.
What kills the story is that it’s done in a journal style narration, so it’s all written after the fact, but strangely enough writer David Avallone decided to have the narration lead the story by the nose and reveal everything before it was shown. The strange effect is that it robs the story of any personality and while I never meet or knew Bettie Page, something tells me that she didn't lack personality in the least bit. Yet with Avallone’s narration and accompanying dialogue, she’s monotone and boring. Not that she had to crack one-liners constantly, but they could have been good when she finally does say one.
The gist of the story is that Bettie flees New York when the Feds bust in on her photo shoot. It’s unclear why she runs, but she runs into some scientist from California that wants her to be his new assistant. She says, “Sure” and heads to Hollywood because it’s Hollywood. Add in a Scooby Doo level mystery, and that’s the first issue.
Weirdly enough, Bettie is fully dressed throughout the comic. Now, I’m not saying I wanted her to be half naked throughout the comic, just that I expected the editorial to push for this because, hey, look at the covers. There’s only one “sexy” (?) outfit in the entire comic, but Colton Worley makes damn sure that Bettie looks beautiful and stylish the rest of the issue. Worley’s artwork is interesting. There’s a ton of photo reference, but then the coloring at times is sloppy. It runs together a lot taking away from the photo realistic look the art has the rest of the time. That and the male lead never looks as detailed as the rest of the characters.
It certainly wasn’t as bad as I could imagine and hell, it’s worth a read if you have any curiosity at all about it. Long term, it’s hard to say it has legs. It would be interesting to see if it does, but I can see this series quickly dissolving into a set formula in which Bettie is put into unbelievable situations only to be saved like a damsel as she is in this issue. Not that I’m reviewing this issue based on that, but those are my thoughts and mind set going forward with this series. None the less, it was an entertaining read and fans of Bettie Page are likely to be pleased with how she’s handled… minus the ending.
Bettie Page #1
Writer: David Avallone
Artist: Colton Worley
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment