New Bettie Page Series a Soporific Departure from Action and Adventure

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Bettie Page 1 July 2020

If you've been following the various volumes of BETTIE PAGE adventures from Dynamite Comics, then you've enjoyed a continuing arc of a noir-like X FILES with the queen of cheesecake. Aliens, elder gods, and secret agents have been the engine behind the successful runs that placed the iconic model at the fore.

The new writer, Karla Pacheco, takes the character in a new direction. It has the potential to be just as exciting, with Bettie being part of a Tolkien knock-off film on a tropical island that's potentially cursed. Unfortunately, it's anything but exciting. Bettie is a demure and submissive woman, just excited to actually get to be in a real picture, and when she loses the role to a floozy, her response is to get lachrymose, but puts on a Pollyanna attitude that she's glad to just still be a part of things.

This is not the gutsy, daring, take charge Bettie to which we have become accustomed.

Beyond that, the narrative is tiresome. I was actually finding myself out of breath (not 'breathless' -- that's another reaction entirely) reading the thing to myself. Part of that is because the narrative is done in an epistulary fashion. It's nearly all diary entries done by Pal, Bettie's photographer and assistant who writes all this down as the action takes place. It's not just tiresome, it's unrealistic. It also (hopefully unintenionally) creates a different dynamic than we saw in the prior BETTIE PAGE adventures, which had previously paired Bettie with a woman of color who was powerful and an equal partner, and cast the role now into a more subservient position.

The artwork from Vincenzo Federici is quite lovely. It's lightly inked, giving it a sort of colored-sketch look. And while it does make Bettie look beautiful, it's in a modest, demure way that magnifies the absence of self-assurance and "kick-assery" that Bettie has exhibited in the past.

The good news for those who stick it out beyond this run is that the writer won't be continuing beyond this five-issue arc of BETTIE PAGE, In a July 8th tweet, Pacheco made clear her intention to leave Dynamite, citing disagreements with management.

Grade: 
2.5 / 5.0