Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Yanick Paquette and Serge Lapointe
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: It's Bulletgirl vs. Sally Sonic in a girlfight for the ages, and to top it off, they're still fighting over a man, even though he's dead! Ah, sweet liberation.
Puritanism watch: There's a fundamental disconnection in this issue, and it's the downside of having a "bad girl" artist like Paquette draw a story that foregrounds the whole "bad girl" concept as a critical theme. To judge from the dialogue, Sally is supposed to have the aspect of one of those vampire children from Anne Rice or Near Dark (i.e. all lollypops and candy canes on the outside, hiding a wizened old pervert within).
But since there are actual scenes of Sally having sex with grown men in a drugged stupor in this issue, Paquette draws her as a grown woman. Her threat (and the wrongs that were done to her) is undercut by this choice, as are scenes where she's sent to an orphanage and protests that's she twenty-four and shouldn't be treated like a child since Paquette draws someone who looks twenty-four and really shouldn't be treated like a child. I understand that direct commentary on child sex-slave rings is usually saved for Vertigo books, but that is what Grant was going for and we don't see it. Instead, we see a voluptuous raving loony who seems to be mildly retarded.
Mixed blessings: Grant achieves a Powers-esque level of sordidness with the sexual underworld of super-culture here, though he still manages to differentiate the freaks, the victims and the heroes. This journey through unwanted super-powers shows that the elite can afford their moral vigor, but the less-blessed make all sorts of frail human compromises, when they're not outright exploited and used. Sally is picked up like any runaway when she escapes to London, and used by other demi-monde metas. Again, her apparent age makes her look stupid rather than simply victimized, and Morrison resorts to a clichéd drug addiction to explain her stupefaction.
Ultimately: The wheels grinding towards the series conclusion show in this issue, especially when some form of the Vigilante shows up to recruit Alex to final battle against the Sheeda. If that issue is anything like this series, her bulletproof hull will insulate her from her own naiveté regarding her place in a world of super-attributes, and she won't be the one to die. Sally's sob story, however, doesn't come off as intended.
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