Savage Beauty #1 (Moonstone - Bullock / Massaroli / Pedroza / Aitkin)
Ripped from today’s world news comes a reimagining of the classic jungle girl genre debuting a new hero for the modern age! Join the Rae sisters, recent UCLA grads, as they travel across modern-day Africa defending the defenseless. Guided by the mysterious Mr. Eden, they assume the identity of a mythical goddess and reveal their Savage Beauty. Mike (The Phantom) Bullock presents a fresh new spin on the jungle girl genre, featuring real world conflicts in Africa and beyond. *This over-sized premier issue also includes a Golden Age Jungle Girl reprint, a look back at Jungle Girls with Michael “Robot 6” May and “lost art” from the proposed 1960 Raquel Welch/Sheena movie.
I am a huge pulp fan, always have been. A childhood constant of mine was watching old B&W’s with my mom on Sunday afternoons. The adventure, thrill and danger of an altruistic hero risking life and limb to take down a dastardly villain was almost too much for my little 7-year heart to handle. Well, what I know (as most of you do too) is that when creative teams try to “modernize” the genre something is lost in the translation and they fail more often than they succeed. And the less-than-stellar-results are usually something off-center, overly cheesy and perhaps way dark.
Running counter to that sad norm, the folks over at Moonstone have been lighting the way for years and showing fans that pulp can still be done and done well. Savage Beauty, as a title, just continues to add to their testimony.
When push comes to shove, everyone (and I mean everyone) enjoys watching a strong and smart female lead kick the crud out of the bad guys – in particular really bad guys like gun dealers, drug runners and modern slave-traders. And this book has not one, but two female leads doing just that – helping all and defending those who cannot defend themselves, and simply doing it because it is the right thing to do. So, right there in the infrastructure of the premise, Savage Beauty has the potential for awesomeness. The creative team behind the book not only nourishes that potential, but maximizes it.
The writing has plenty of intrigue and a fair amount of emotion. As early as page two, author Mike Bullock successfully has the readers invested and wanting to know more about the protagonists. He also has us hoping that Mister Richaud (the nefarious villain) gets a slow, painful and ugly death. Josa Massaroli (artist) delivers solidly as he walks a fine line in illustrating this pulp adventure – balancing giving realistic details and some over-the-top action sequences / eye candy that is a characteristic staple of the pulp genre.
Bottom Line: Whether you are an adventure fan or simply a fan needing a “jungle girl” fix – Savage Beauty is a good read and well worth the cover price!
Issue Grade: A