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.

35 comments:

kelvingreen said...

Ah, Shanna, the comic that spawned the Marvel movie that's forgotten even more often than Howard the Duck.

And of course there are all the behind-the-scenes shenanigans with this new series as Marvel hire an artist known for his female figures to do a mature readers comic about a scantily-clad jungle babe, only to chicken out and erase all the nudity before publication. That's like hiring Grant Morrison to do a cosmic superhero story and then telling him to take out all the cosmic stuff. Oh wait, they did that too.

There are preview pages of Nude Shanna floating about the internet, and Marvel continue to hum and haa about whether they'll do an "unrated" trade release.

kelvingreen said...

No, ignore me, I'm lying. Shanna was based on a character called "Sheena, Queen of the Jungle" and they made a movie of that in 1984. My confusion was due to Marvel publishing a comic adaptation of the movie a year later.

Edward Liu said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Konstantinos Stamoulis said...

"That's like hiring Grant Morrison to do a cosmic superhero story and then telling him to take out all the cosmic stuff. Oh wait, they did that too."


What comic are you referring to ? I had heard something similar about 'Marvel Boy' and Bill Jemas. Can you elaborate on that ?

Greg said...

It's a SEVEN-issue series, Dave. So there's one more issue with no story and Shanna popping out of her bikini!

Jon Silpayamanant said...

I'm confused. Is that cover, like, an example of "four points of contact?"

Shon Richards said...

You have no idea how lucky you are to be spared the most annoying catchphrase in all comics. The second half of the series was filled with 'Holy Buckets!', like every page. It almost interrupted my enjoyment of Shanna's Power Girls. Almost.

I would love to hook Frank Cho with a writer and see what happens but on the other hand, there is something very pure about Shanna. The story was non-existant but maybe that's better than a super heavy plot decorating cheesecake art and dinosuars.

kelvingreen said...

Yeah, it was the sequel to Marvel Boy, which was deemed "too cosmic" by Marvel.

Which is really quite surprising considering that the series was about a transdimensional Kree warrior...

Adrian James said...

Shon--that is the best synonym for breasts I have ever seen anyone use ever.

Betty said...

I just want to say, this Boob War feature is the best thing ever.

Chris said...

Shon wins. "Power Girls". Love it!

Johnny Canuck said...

Dave, you're spoiling me.

This post was Cho-riffic!!
Some of the breast scenes with the raptors in the last couple of issues of this series are mind-thwackingly jiggly.

Amazing stuff, and as Boob-War as they come.

My cups, and Shanna's, have definitely runnethed over.

Cove West said...

Give poor Ka-Zar a break, Dave! Yeah, a total Tarzan clone, but at least Ka-Zar is still around having sporadic adventures. So long as DC's monkey fetish remains intact, Marvel will always have an equally silly jungle adventure addiction.

Can't say I'm too ecstatic about Cho's Shanna, though. Why the "genetically modified" angle? She couldn't just be the world's fiercest woman, taking down dinosaurs and big game hunters with good ol' human how-to? Genetically modify her Power Girls and be done with it!

Martin Wisse said...

Ahhh, the Paul Gulacy drawn Shanna story in the old Marvel Comics Presents was much better --it even had a real plot and still all the boobs you could eat!

Anonymous said...

I never liked Frank Cho's art, but I never could put my finger on why.

I just realized one piece of it, though: he's drawing the same girl over and over again. Shanna is wossname from "Liberty Acres" in a wig.

And, yeah. You can have Boob Wars and have a plot too. Someone mentioned the old Ka-Zar series; that would pretty much be Exhibit A.

But I'm quibbling. Love Boob War. _Love it._


Doug M.

Matthew said...

@anonymous: so you never noticed the two girls in his comic strip were exactly identical except for the hair colour?

Cho baffles me. Obviously he's capable of drawing different things, and has a lot of talent, but seems to take great pride in shackling himself to the most limited range in comcidom. Maybe he just really, really, really likes this one woman. I dunno.

Anonymous said...

his comic strip were exactly identical except for the hair colour?

Two?


Doug M.

Dan Coyle said...

Shanna the She-Devil was on of the most beautfully drawn- and horribly written- series in recent memory.

Why is it that Frank Cho thinks he creates strong female characters when he can only express them through their effect on the men around her?

David Cutler said...

"I'm confused. Is that cover, like, an example of "four points of contact?""

That, my friend, is a little bit of symbolism we call the vagina dentata. A particularly drooly one as well.

Angry Android said...

On a side topic, has anybody picked up Frank Cho's "Zombie War?" Three words: Zombie. Cow. Sex. I hope there's more naked booblies or else I'm going to feel ripped off.

Gayest Neil said...

Whatever happened to the Jungle Girl on the superfriends who could swing on vines and talk to jungle animals?

kelvingreen said...

Whatever happened to the Jungle Girl on the superfriends who could swing on vines and talk to jungle animals?

She got raped and murdered as part of the C-list cull that is Incontinent Crisis.

Jon Silpayamanant said...

That, my friend, is a little bit of symbolism we call the vagina dentata. A particularly drooly one as well.

Bwahahaha!

Dan Coyle said...

David-Man: You've got Swarm! Weiringo Swarm! AWESOME!

KJToo said...

I just wanted to say that you're providing a real service to your readers with Guerra de los Tatas, Dave.

I'll be in my bunk.

B2 said...

Wow -- that could be the best comic ever.

Snowie said...

Okay, pure and simple-the story, though not the main factor of the comic, is great; the action, even more so.
But, plain and simple, this is the highlight of the series-Shanna's bod. Sex. E.

Shannie said...

I love it. I found this only because I'm a nerd and was googling my own name...Shanna. But I loved this blog. Great!

lazy_cg said...

poor basterd went out like elvis minding his own business answering the call of nature and got decapitated by a t-rex.

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