Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Marvel Divas #1 Review

Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Art by Tonci Zonjic

Let's get this out of the way right now. This is not a cheesecake book. There's no T&A and nothing remotely similar to the nonsense spewed in the solicits or during the promotion and introduction of the book by Marvel back when it made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

It's basically a bunch of girls talking about guys, getting catty over the popular super heroines and acting like, well, divas. There's some great dialogue here that had me doing my, "oh snap", impressions or laughing out loud, like when Monica has to carry everyone and compares her being the only one that can fly with being the only one with a car in high school. And then there's also some bad dialogue that feels like it was ripped straight from a Desparate Housewives or Sex in the City episode or from some random movie, like a, 'vomited in my mouth', line or what have you.

For an issue built almost entirely on the strength of the dialogue, it can be hit or miss. I did enjoy it, though, which is something I never thought I'd be saying about this book, especially after the whole brouhaha about it when it was originally announced. If I had to compare the book to anything, it would be much in the same vein as Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane in terms of tone and the blending of super heroes and the female perspective of the stories.

However, one issue people may have with the book is the introduction of the cancer subplot. As was much speculated upon after sketches of Firestar featured scribbles about breast cancer, it does, in fact, turn out, by issue's end, that she has been diagnosed with cancer. Angilica had been missing from the entire issue and the others had been wondering where she was and she shows up at the end to play the cancer card (I sound like a douche wording it like that) to add some impact to an otherwise light hearted and fun issue. I'm a bit leary of how they will treat this, as the tone of the book and series did not give the impression of any kind of deep or serious issues being covered, but I'll have to wait and see what they actually do with it next issue before passing any real judgement.

I'd be remiss if I did not speak about one of my new favourite artists, Tonci Zonjic. I can't really put my finger on what I love about his art, which I first came upon in a recent Dark Reign: The Cabal issue, but I just love it. It's got some great facial expressions that really fit this book and both times I've seen his work, it's been accompanied by muted colours that really show off the line work. This isn't a Bryan Hitch or Steve McNiven, but you could make an argument for similarities to another one of my favourite artists, David Aja. Don't think I would have enjoyed this issue as much as I did without Zonjic's artwork animating everyone perfectly.

Verdict - Check It. While some parts of the story fell flat, I was actually quite pleased with the purchase. The book isn't for everyone, but if you like Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane or even BKV's first volume of Runaways, you'll probably enjoy the dialogue and feel of this miniseries.

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