Review - Bettie Page Vol. 2 #1 (@DynamiteComics)

"You still have all the magic I need, Bettie Page..."

Bettie Page is an icon. She is so primarily because of her looks, but there's more to her than just that. In Bettie Page Vol. 2 #1 from Dynamite Entertainment, the investigative side of Bettie Page is on display. The issue is written by David Avallone, illustrated by Julius Ohta, colored by Ellie Wright and lettered by Taylor Esposito.

The brand-new Queen of England has mysteriously vanished, and British Intelligence needs a helping hand from the world’s greatest model spy! Can Bettie the First find Elizabeth the Second before the news gets out and panics all of Great Britain? Are UFOs involved?

Bettie Page is a very unique character in that she was idolized for her looks, but Avallone is showing there's a lot more to her than that. In Bettie Page Vol. 2 #1, Avallone's quick-witted dialogue shows her as an intelligent individual capable of solving the latest mystery of the world that somehow involves UFOs as well. To Avallone's credit, simply making Bettie Page an international spy is pretty zany on its own so throwing in an alien abduction really just demonstrates his commitment to going all in. Despite the story not necessarily following a historic precedent, the historic characters on display (namely Winston Churchill) are written with a reasonable approximation of their personalities. And the issue definitely plays out very quickly prior to setting up an interesting cliffhanger.

Ohta's illustrations are very appropriate for the era they're evoking. Characters are depicted with thick, black lines that give them very good physical definition and effectively define the times. Bettie Page's sexuality is tamped down significantly which is refreshing because it means that Ohta can still convey her breathtaking beauty while also demonstrating that she's fiercely intelligent as well. The panels are laid out methodically to follow the action well, with plenty of overlays to keep things frenetic. Wright's colors are bold throughout the issue with the night scenes especially feeling dark and ominous.

Bettie Page Vol. 2 #1 is a lot of fun. Bettie Page is tasked with saving the world in a way and she's clearly up to the task of doing so. Avallone's script is engaging and fast-paced, explaining the scenario to the reader and getting right to the thick of things. Ohta's illustrations are clean and effective in bringing the reader into 1950s London. The issue sets up a pretty fun whodunnit of sorts that takes a few liberties with history along the way.

Bettie Page Vol. 2 #1 is available November 21.