REVIEW: Codename Baboushka: The Conclave of Death #1

Story By: Antony Johnston
Art By: Shari Chankhamma
Publisher: Image comics

“All yours Baboushka, Baboushka, Baboushka-ya-ya”

Yes its an obvious joke and yes I went there!

New from Image Comics is yet another female spy book.  This seems to be a growing trend, what with Scarlett Couture and of course, Marvel’s Black Widow.  In fact it is the latter of the two that at initial glance, that seems to be mined and mimicked for inspiration, the most obvious element being their Russian background.  But after reading the book, it becomes apparent that there are a multitude of influences in play making a substantial whole.

Contessa Annika Malikova is the last scion of the famed House of Malikov currently claiming political refuge in America.  Following an interrupted diner at her favourite restaurant with her companion, Gyorgy, by the US government she is blackmailed to come out of retirement to aid and abet in a black ops scheme, of which her disdain is more than obvious.  What follows are high kicks, hi-jinks and murder as the pair look to ensure they residency in the US.

Written by veteran writer Anthony Johnston, the book moves at a pretty fast pace.  Of course the action parts help this, but even the quieter moments feel pacy as the implied and actual threats seem to propel the reader through the panels.  The dialogue has cheesecake moments but Codename Babushkathese are few and far between as the majority is impressive; the comment around “How scandalous, how tedious” dripping with drollness and sarcasm.

The art is by Shari Chankhamma, who has been working on various comics.  Here her work is  vaguely Manga-esque, with over elaborate emotional facial responses that aren’t as strong as the majority of similar art.  I am not usually a fan of Manga, but somehow the less is more approach gives the book a more Western feel.  Indeed at times, the action scenes remind me of Totally Spies.  The colors on the book are fine with Chankhamma going for a washed out approach which makes the main character pop off the page.

The book is an entertaining read. If you are looking for a “good girl” art, which might be the impression gained if judging by the cover alone, you will be disappointed.  In its place is a more mature version of the spy girl theme, both in script and art.  Falling somewhere between Jane Bond, Bruce Wayne and the aforementioned Scarlett and Widow it seems the future success will be:-

“All yours Baboushka, Baboushka, Baboushka-ya-ya”

Leave a Reply

2557 More posts in Reviews category
Recommended for you
REVIEW: Boston Comic Con 2017 presented by FanExpo

Boston Comic Con brought to you by the NEW owners, announced at last year's convention,...