Tuesday, September 06, 2005
SHANNA THE SHE-DEVIL #3 Marvel Comics, 2005
I don’t know the man but if I had to guess I’d say that Frank Cho, writer/artist of the Shanna the She-Devil series, is a big fan of a) dinosaurs, and b) breasts. If that is the case, then Mr. Cho and I have something in common.
This is what I call quality Boob War.
It’s not the most satisfying reading experience, granted, but man, the pictures are pretty. I honestly only bought two issues of this six-issue Marvel Knights limited series, simply because the pacing of the story is so, um, deliberate. I’m waiting for the trade, I think it will be a more satisfying reading experience than reading each issue. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with Shanna jumping and bouncing around and stuff, but even that gets a little old without some narrative impetus.
But enough about story and narrative and all that shit. That’s not what we’re here for, is it? And that’s not what Frank Cho is here for either – he’s just here to show us a buxom jungle girl fighting a not-so buxom T-Rex, and in that regard, he delivers. Half the damn comic book is devoted to a desperate fight between these equally well-drawn killing machines, and I likes it.
Shanna the She-Devil is Marvel’s version of the iconic (or cliché, n’cest pas?) jungle girls of pulp and celluloid. You know, savage beauties in leopard hide bikinis with names like Sheena, Rima, Jann, Rulah, and Chaka Khan.* Shanna was hooked up with Ka-Zar, a Tarzan-clone, and together they survived many perilous adventures in the Savage Land, a huge valley full of dinosaurs and mutates in the middle of frickin’ Antarctica. At least, that’s the “classic” model of Shanna the She-Devil.
Frank Cho’s Shanna is a genetically modified superbabe with a killer instinct and a killer bod! Yes, I just wrote that. Thankfully, there is no Ka-Zar here. As a matter of fact, this Shanna has pretty much nothing to do with the original model. She’s not Shanna, she’s “Ultimate Shanna.”
The plot of this issue? Shanna and some soldiers set out across dino-infested wilderness to get the antidote to a deadly Nazi virus. Along the way they get attacked by a T-Rex.
That’s it. But really, ten pages of a jungle girl fighting a giant dinosaur can’t be a bad thing, can it?
Check out this panel, where the T-Rex chomps on this guy while he’s taking a piss:
It bit the dude in the head!
I love that panel. You have got to admit that Frank Cho puts as much work into his backgrounds and composition as he puts into his fetching female protagonists. Plus, aesthetics aside, it’s a picture of a frickin’ T-Rex eating some guy’s head. That is why comics are so beautiful, man – right there!
The T-Rex eats the unlucky soldier whole, then faces off against Shanna, as we see in the following panel:
I love the leg gag, that’s brilliant. Come on, you’re liking this comic already, and you haven’t even really seen Shanna yet.
Of course, Shanna does battle with the T-Rex in a great sequence that allows Cho to draw a lot of panels of Shanna arching her back or poking her but in the “camera.” Finally, while the T-Rex chases another soldier, Shanna leaps for a spear:
Okay, I’m going to just come out and say it: Shanna has really big tits.
Moving on. Shanna saves the rest of the soldiers, defeating the T-Rex by doing a one-woman version of the wall of spears from Braveheart. She skewers the beasty, and it tumbles off a cliff, never to be seen again – unless you glance at the preview art in the back of the comic, which shows the impaled T-Rex attacking again Shanna & Co yet again next issue. And you wonder why I complain about the plot not moving forward?
So there you have it, one of my two issues of Shanna the She Devil. I’ll have to find out exactly how many more times she fights the T-Rex when the trade collection comes out.
* In life, there are so few opportunities for Chaka Khan jokes – don’t begrudge me my chance for happiness. Let me have my little joke. Let me have my dreams.