REVIEW: Ame-Comi Girls #3

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The revamped history of Duela Dent is revealed, as are her master plans and her secret partner in crime. After Batgirl is captured, it all falls on a newly reformed Catwoman to call in the cavalry. Will she make it in time or will the world fall into a girl-power-induced-cacophony of madness? Major Spoilers finds out!

AME-COMI_3_DUELADENTAME-COMI GIRLS #3
Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Artist: Ted Naifeh
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Colorist: Randy Mayor
Editor: Jim Chadwick
Publisher: DC Comics, Inc.
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Ame-Comi Girls:  Batgirl and Robin had a girls night out and hilarity ensued. They saved some teenagers and then duked it out with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Robin escaped to join female Steel, while Batgirl fell into one of Duela Dent’s traps.

CATTY VILLAINESSES ASSEMBLE!

Duela Dent led an interesting life, living in an abandoned house with her Joker-inspired father, being attacked by bats as a child, becoming an orphan and then vowing vengeance on the world… That sort of thing. Revealing her partner in crime to be a fem-bot version of Brainiac, Duela lays down the law with her posse of evil villainesses, alienating Catwoman and Cheetah in the process. Also, we meet female Flash to join female Steel and female Robin.

Duela Dent’s history has been tweaked from her original, the goal here being to make her the female version of the Joker. It was a neat take on the character though Palmiotti and Gray took a lot from Nolan’s Joker, giving her the nearly-canon scars and having her verbalize how she’s going to cause destruction just for the sake of causing destruction, not to mention her unwillingness to unmask Batgirl. That’s not to say everything about her is taken from Nolan, but there’s a very Nolan-esque vibe.

Once you get past all the estrogen and girl-power camaraderie, this is kind of a fun book and series. It’s lighthearted, more or less, with a high school bitchiness sort of feel. It can be a little distracting because some of the dialogue feels like it was directly lifted from a high school movie, but, again, it’s something you have to overlook with this series in general. This particular book is a little darker than the others since it’s not only Duela’s new and improved origin story, but also the introduction of Brainiac complete with Brainiac’s fetish for collecting as much information as she can. Nevertheless, the catty banter is still there and the mood never gets as dark as some of the other titles out there.

STEAMPUNK DUELA AND HER STEAMPUNK GADGETS

Though the series is supposed to be manga and anime inspired, there’s very little about this book that screams manga. Save for the trademark gigantic eye-style that some of the characters have, it’s still very much in the vein of Western comics. Naifeh doesn’t splurge as much in this book as previous artists have in the other two issues.

That said, I really love how Duela was rendered. The Steampunk motif she’s rocking works for her character. I couldn’t help but stop and admire the detail put into her outfit, making it pretty but function able for her evil villain deeds.

The same can be said for Brainiac. It was an interesting direction to take the character in, making he a she, for one, and giving her a vaguely nautical or Geiger feel. Though I can’t help but raise a nervous eyebrow at giving she-Brainiac tentacles in a manga-themed series.

BOTTOM LINE: TAKE IT FOR WHAT IT IS

Having not read this series in its original online debut, I’ve so far been enjoying it. It’s not for everyone though. The series is lighthearted even when it’s being dark, like with Duela’s backstory, and it feels like it’s meant to be just a fun and entertaining read. No secret agenda or hidden meaning, just campy fun. Keep in mind that it is kinda estrogen heavy on that Mean Girls meets the Spice Girls sort of way, so if that’s not really your thing, steer clear. If you want something just kinda fun and visually interesting, might want to give it a look.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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