Time, is a cruel cruel Mistress. What was once great, fades. What was once fantastic, flounders into average. What started as big, ends as a whimper. Still at times, the might of comic book creators can join together to battle time and stand in its way, proclaiming, “your weight will not wear us down.”
In that vein, IDW have re-released this mini series, originally published as part of Marvel’s Epic line, which featured two creators who found themselves at opposite ends of the scales: Peter David, a Marvel heavy hitter par excellence on Hulk and artist George Perez, possibly on the wan from the dizzy heights Avengers and Teen Titans.
The story follows J.J Sachs, a soft core model with the ability to take on any number of bad guys in any number of risqué outfits. J.J is joined in action by her photographer Eric Shultz, who carries more than an unrequited love for his model. Together they take on the pornographers and mob bosses in an effort to rid the streets of those that prey on young girls. During the book, it comes to light that J.J gets more than a little hot under the collar with all the violence and takes advantage of a more than happy-to-oblige Schultz.
Yes, the book is as preposterous as it sounds. At the time, Peter David could do no wrong. He had crafted his style on Spider-Man, before his long and award-winning run on Hulk, not even mentioning his Star Trek work. Here, instead of clever asides and quips, we are bludgeoned with naked flesh, violence and the sort of character logic that goes beyond belief. I can appreciate that how we look at certain aspects of books has changed, but looking through this book, I don’t think I would ever recognise the younger me, who thought this book was brilliant when it first hit the store.
Along for the ride is George Perez, a much-loved classic style of artist. Now I have said on a few podcasts, that I was never sold on Perez as an artist. Even so, he has a talent that could be respected. Here, however, we get odd poses to maximise the female, barely covered form and that age-old “using the environment to hide the rude bits”. Is this what has become of an artist that is widely revered for his work? Ink heavy, clustered panels that scream of trying to hard? I am not sure who is to blame; is it writer for thinking of these scenes of an editor who just thought “its a mature book, so that must mean naked women”.
I remember when this book hit the racks back in the 90’s. It was quite sought after and much desired. There was no outcry of the visual exploitation on show. Looking at it now, it seems a tawdry excuse of trying to maximise the gratuitousness of that era, seemingly more like a warning of what not to do.
Writing – 2 Stars
Art – 2 Stars
Color -2 Stars
(W) Peter David (A/CA) George Perez