Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Review - Bettie Page #1 (@DynamiteComics)


"...but I always leap without looking."

Bettie Page needs really no introduction as her exploits are very well-known at this point. In Bettie Page #1, Dynamite Comics is delving into a side of Bettie Page that many people may not have thought of when considering her. The issue is written by David Avallone, illustrated by Colton Worley and lettered by Taylor Esposito.

She's more modest than Ms. Blaise, but peels more than Ms. Emma. She out-vamps Vampirella, but she's sweeter than Honey West. She put the mod in model, and the bangs in bang-bang. Now the world can know the truth: her classified adventures back in 1951 Hollywood have been declassified.

Bettie Page is an icon, but Avallone seeks to make her something more. His approach in Bettie Page #1 is to make her something of a spy of sorts, clearly capable of holding her own in just about any situation. The script for the issue is a romp and Avallone presents Betty with a sharp wit and fiery personality. The way the issue is paced makes it feel pretty self-contained as there's a clear resolution by the end of the issue. Avallone also makes the book feel very relevant to the time of its setting through language that feels foreign nowadays, but it really helps set the context of the issue very well.

It's a tall task rendering Betty Page, but Worley is definitely up to it. There are a few instances where Worley showcases her figure, but for most of the issue she's shown as extremely athletic and a firebrand. Worley uses a very heavy ink style that lends a photo-realistic weight to the illustrations and providing an appropriate context for the type of pin-up reputation Page achieved. Panels are also effective in reinforcing a camera motif as Worley mixes in a variety of square and circle panels to emphasize certain events much in the way a camera focuses on a shot. The book feels predominantly dark in terms of the colors, the darkest of which is Page's raven black hair.

Bettie Page #1 is a pretty slick take on an industry legend. Bettie is more than just a pretty face, always ready with a retort and not one to readily back down from a confrontation. Avallone's script is adventurous and gives Bettie plenty of opportunity to show off her intellectual assets. Worley's artwork is gorgeous and a nice throwback to an era when Page was all the rage. Bettie Page #1 is a fun read that gives the reader a new perspective on the title character.

Bettie Page #1 is available now.

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