Alex: Every Wednesday on Twitter, I pick a comics issue that caught my eye and do an illustrated thread of little observations and stuff I enjoyed about it. It’s called #oneweekonecomic, and I’m collating each thread into its own blog post.
This time out, we’re looking at Jed MacKay/Travel Foreman/Joey Vasquez’s DAUGHTERS OF THE DRAGON: DEEP CUTS, originally released as ‘digital originals’, in print for the first time with this collection.
Some spoilers (mostly for cool moments) after the cut.
I only really know Colleen Wing and Misty Knight from the Netflix adaptations, and my resulting (increasingly against-the-odds) prayers that they’d get their own show. This book establishes a clear dynamic for them: no-nonsense Misty, all-nonsense Colleen, no-question BFFs.
They’re also characters who sample multiple aesthetics and pull them into a superhero universe, so it’s appropriate that the three stories here jump between genres: martial arts to super-spies to mystery story.
The whole book is stylised – and stylish – as hell. The dialogue is turned up just a little too high, full of impossibly polished word-bombs. It’s incredibly arch and I love it.
Likewise the visuals, which take every opportunity to present moments in an unusual, cinematic or just plain cool way.
There’s a drug trip sequence that is basically an excuse for Foreman, colourist Jordan Gibson and letterer Ferran Delgado to just cut loose for four pages, switching up approach slightly for each new panel.
I’d tell you to study the slippage on the middle image, how it applies to linework and lettering equally, but really, I’m mainly sharing this so you can join me in chef-kissing over it.
Style = substance, fig. i: Three pages of panels slipping off their neat grid (note the contrast with the rows of dominoes), as Misty breaks free from mind control. The third layout references one in an earlier story, where Colleen did the same.
Style = substance, fig. ii: Three tall thin panels with a fixed angle is an eye-catchingly weird way to lay out a page, but it’s not a great use of space, especially when the top of a panel is left essentially empty. So, when the baddie appears and fills the void, it feels right.
Style = substance, fig. iii: Title pages are always a welcome addition to comics, as far as I’m concerned – but more importantly, the way DotD uses them slowly sets up a pattern that can be broken by the third story, in order to establish ‘something’s wrong here’.
Style = …actually, naw, this trunk shot is just a Tarantino homage, one that makes perfect sense given how close DotD’s style feels to the genre-hopping excesses of Kill Bill.
One thing I don’t love about the art is that, at least to my eye, Colleen is drawn as a white woman. It’s a common issue with the character, and how East Asian women in comics are drawn generally, but… especially given the best-known version of the character is unambiguously Asian, there’s simply no excuse.
This is a nice use of panels as a replacement for comedic timing, in a medium that doesn’t have time among its toolset: setup… beat… beat… punchline.
A cool concept casually tossed out: a baddie who has been mind-wiped and programmed with “spy narratives and archetypes”, so he has to act out the role of a Bond villain, even if it kills him.
This isn’t the Marvel Universe’s first rent-a-goon startup (see also: the Hench app) but it’s a direction that makes a lot of sense for Taskmaster as a character.
It’s a great gag, but honestly: “It’s an aesthetic thing!” could serve as a pull quote for Daughters of the Dragon. Which probably tells you everything you need to know about whether you’ll dig this comic or not.
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