Wednesday, October 05, 2005
ELVEN #1 Malibu Comics 1995
First of all, shouldn’t it be Elvish instead of Elven? Not to get all Tolkien on your ass, but the word “elven” is sooo D&D. And if this comic book were called Elvish, it might be about the crazy adventures of a magical female Elvis impersonator with a speech impediment, which would make for a better comic than Elven #1.
I cannot wrap my head around this comic, thematically. An offshoot of Prime, Malibu Comic’s flagship title, Elven is the story of Elvia (snicker), a young girl who has the ability to transform herself physically into Elven, a superhuman elf chick in a bikini. The girl, who is the victim of domestic abuse, is a voracious reader of fantasy books and has created the elf avatar out of her subconscious. Judging from Elven’s appearance, perhaps the little girl was reading John Norman’s Gor series.
Prime himself makes an appearance to nudge sales a bit, because kids love Prime (irony). Of course, Elven and Prime must fight:
Here’s where I get confused: The themes of writer Len Strazewski’s story involve men who abuse women, and the effect that abuse has on the women. Elven stops a dealer from smacking around a woman in the beginning, we get a flashback of Elvia’s drunken asshole father beating on her when she’s reading Lord of the Rings (“Look at the trash she’s reading!” he yells.), and Elvia’s therapist is portrayed as an unethical prick. Basically, all the men in the book are bad, except Prime, and he’s only okay because he’s in essence, a boy.
So here’s where Elven loses me: If the abuse of women and misuse of power by men form the thematic underpinnings of the book, are those themes best explored by a BoobWar elf-hotty in a metal bikini? I don’t want to get over analytical, because that’s not funny, but doesn’t the way she looks sort of send a mixed signal? Or is it really a noble deception, enticing young readers into the world of Elven with cheesecake, only to blow their young minds with a powerful message of non-exploitation? Is Elven too clever for me?
The therapist is too bored and self-centered to notice the demonic possession thing. “Yes, very interesting,” the therapist says. “Excellent voice, Bruno.”
Elvia comes into the therapist’s office while Bruno hits on the secretary in the waiting room. “I can do all sorts of fun and nasty things to you,” Bruno says. I gotta remember that line.
The unethical prick therapist gets impatient with Elvia after about thirty seconds. “We’re getting nowhere,” he thinks. “Little brat is about as uptight as they come.” At about forty-five seconds into the session he decides to “speed things up” and hypnotize her. “We’re supposed to get permission first, but who’s going to know?”
The session is interrupted by young Bruno going into full-on demon mode in an effort, one assumes to violate the attractive secretary. Elvia transforms into Elven, and wackiness ensues as the two over-sexualized twelve-year olds go at it:
What then, am I supposed to take away from the fact that the main character is a little girl who turns into Bikini Elf to stop the abuse of women? To be fair, artist Aaron Lopresti’s artwork isn’t lascivious or overly titillating, but still. It reminds me of the comic Ant, which is now being published by Image, I think. I’m not going to make any judgment calls on Ant because I haven’t actually read it, but I have flipped through it and looked at preview art online, etc. It seems to me that Ant covers sort of the same ground as Elven, I believe – little girl morphs into nubile superhero chick – but Ant is full of ass shots and has a clear cheesecake agenda. I mean, if you have J. Scott Campbell cover featuring a nice juicy ass, you’re using sex to sell your book right?
Now I’m not saying that’s a bad thing; I love BoobWar as much as the next guy. But am I way off base when I say that it’s a little creepy to have a sexed-up character that is, in essence, a little girl?
If there are two things I’ve learned from Elven, it’s that 1) metal bikinis sell, and 2) men are total dicks. It’s confusing, but hey, what do I want? I bought it for a quarter.