Review: Molly Danger – Book One: Mighty

At first glance just about anyone would look at Molly Danger and think that it was an all-ages superhero title and they’d be half right about each of those things. It is a story set in the vein of the superhero genre, but it is not an all-ages title. The maturity and depth of the story is what sets this outside the all-ages range. In fact for a young reader this might just be their first comic to show them the depth and sophistication that comic books can have. The true opening of the book was actually the Free Comic Book Day issue so I’m not going to dwell on that. The gist of the story is that we meet Molly as she defeats a brain in a jar inside his giant robot suit. The part that we didn’t see and the part that I think effectively shows the depth of the emotion tied to the story happens after the battle when Molly is being collected to head back to her “base.” She’s about to greet the public when her handler stops her and tells her it’s time to go. You see that’s the thing we didn’t know about Molly from her FCBD issue, she’s actually not some superhero kid.

The story continues as we head to the “Molly Danger Museum and Gift Shop.” Here we learn an organization exists surrounding Molly, but this base/museum is also where Molly hangs her coat at the end of the day. Now in the beginning of the story we were also introduced to a hotshot pilot that helped Molly and the story did not forget about him. His name is Austin Briggs and he’s been let go by the police force for his antics, but finally hired on by Molly’s organization which was his true goal. He heads home to tell his wife and step-son; his wife is thrilled, but his step-son (who’s secretly a huge Molly Danger fan) shows no excitement whatsoever.

Molly Danger vol. 1The deal surrounding Molly is that she’s an alien, but that she’s also been stuck in the form of a child for thirty years. Now if that doesn’t blow your mind there’s more going on with her rogue’s gallery that might have them all connected and even something behind the scenes at Molly’s organization that Austin isn’t aware of that involves him.

As I said this simple looking superhero story is actually very deep and rich with emotional content. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely enjoyed the FCBD edition that introduces the character. It had a great mixture of golden age and modern age superhero qualities, but who would have known that it was actually just the start to something much bigger.

I’m always hesitant when a creator that’s mostly known as an artist takes on both writing and art. I can think of several examples that didn’t work out. Igle on the other hand is pretty spectacular. Why DC never just gave him the reins on a title is beyond me because his writing is as impressive as his artwork. For all intent and purposes this is the origin issue for the series and rather than spending the entire time explaining the world or even doing what I call “world building” he spends the time building the characters and letting the conflict come to them. It’s very organic feeling and makes the world come across realistic and believable. Molly is a complex character; she looks like a child, but she’s decades old and yet is expected to act like a child. It’s hard to tell what she’s going to do or say because of this which is a great aspect of the story.

Igle is at the top of his game with the artwork. I’ll admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of his work on Supergirl, but here you can see his skills. He relies on his visual storytelling as much as he does his written narrative and that’s a good thing. You can also tell that he’s pouring as much detail into each panel and page. That’s the biggest difference between his work-for-hire material and this, the quality of the production. The range of emotions on the character’s faces captures the feeling of the scenes making it a fantastic and deep read.

Sadly I think a lot of people are going to glaze over this title because they’ll think it’s for kids; little do they know it’s an emotionally deep world that takes a complex look at the superhero genre. If you like superheroes and you like stories with real heart; then check out Molly Danger. It’s been a while since I first learned about this series, but now that the wait is over I can say that it was definitely worth it.

Score: 5/5

Writer/Artist/Creator: Jamal Igle Publisher: Action Lab Entertainment Price: $19.95 Release Date: 10/2/13