I’ve been following the Danger Girl series since the first issue. It’s been a long journey since then. The series has transferred publishers and frankly I don’t even know who technically owns it anymore and really the publisher doesn’t matter as long as the book is good. I’ve actually enjoyed a lot of IDW’s mini-series for the franchise, but none more than Renegade. With that said, Danger Girl is a guilty pleasure for me. What constantly drives me insane about it is that it could be better. It could be great. It’s a simple and yet amazing concept that constantly stumbles or goes for low hanging fruit.
Renegade isn’t exactly anything new. It’s part Tomb Raider and part Johnny Quest. So there’s nothing that’s wholly original here, but finally it just clicks together to deliver something that really is great in the Danger Girl franchise. Now the story is actually cut in two. There’s a backstory for Abbey and maybe I missed her backstory or this could be the first time it’s been revealed, but damn. Damn, was it welcomed. Finally, I have a reason to care about this character. I have a reason for who she fucking is! I don’t know how many issues of Danger Girl there have been, but I’ve never really cared about the characters which is the tragic thing. It’s amazing what backstory can do.
The backstory is the part that is half Lara Croft and half Johnny Quest. We meet Abbey as she’s on the run in an Egyptian market place. After making short work of the men after her, her body guard David arrives to take her somewhere else. He tells her that Egypt is no longer safe. She lists places she’d like to return to, but David reminds her that they’ve already been found out there. We catch up with them in Norway and we learn that she’s on the run to protect her father’s work. People are trying to get to her to use her as bait to stop him. There’s more to this backstory, but I don’t want to spoil it.
Back in the present, Abbey is now a bit like Indiana Jones if he were a thief. She’s being chased by the lady with the dragon tattoo… on her face, Asia. This transition is great and really felt cinematic. Stephen Molnar has slid his way into being one of my favorite Danger Girl artists. There’s still the J. Scott Campbell vibe to her and the world, but he adds his own touch of realism which was nice. Abbey looks a bit more realistic, even if she’s in incredible shape. Also teen Abbey actually looked and dressed like a teenager. It was surprising to see since kids in comics usually look liked weirdly proportioned adults.
Overall, Molnar’s artwork was the reason I think this story really excelled. A different artist may have been able to lead the story on, but Molnar elevated it to a higher level for me. At times you could see some inspiration from Frank Cho when facial expressions were presented.
The coloring fit the story fairly well. There’s times when textures, like leather, really ring true, but then pants on basically any character are void of texture. You can’t really tell if they’re jeans, or khakis or what, but I feel like you should be able to base on the shirt texture. It’s a minor complaint, but I really dug into the story so it stood out to me.
Again, the story is nothing that original. You can see the influences and frankly if you’ve watched a lot of movies this may even feel really familiar and that’s okay, because it works. It actually works for this world. Somehow, moving away from the James Bond formula, really works. Maybe they’ve just tapped that well too many times or maybe this was the more natural fit for the universe all this time. Either way, I was very happy with this first issue of Danger Girl: Renegade and I have a feeling the rest of the mini-series may actually follow suit. At least that’s what I’m hoping.
Danger Girl: Renegade #1 Writer: Andy Hartnell Artist: Stephen Molnar Colorist: John Rauch Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 9/2/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital