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I Hate Gallant Girl #1

Posted: Monday, November 17, 2008
By: Dave Baxter

Jim Valentino & Kim Cahill
Seth Damoose, Kanila Tripp (c)
Shadowline / Image
Plot: Uber-talented super-hero wannabe Renee Tempete, wielding the ability to control all four elements (whereas most heroes can only manage one), nonetheless loses out to Miss California for the chance to be the next “Gallant Girl,” due to her overly average looks. I’d say more, but there’s only one and a half story beats left to this issue, so I’d be “ruining” it for you.

Whiny Commentary: The concept has potential, kind of, or anyway it would have a year or two ago, but now this is yet one more super-hero book whose conceit is inspired by the glamour-contest side of our culture, in this case spinning out of the Miss America pageant rather than the admittedly more overdone culprit, reality TV. Still, the books feels and reads like another reality TV super-powers mag, like Wild Guard, or Youngblood, or New Warriors, or Adrenaline, or Super Real, or, or…you getting' this?

So that’s a blow right off the bat, however the idea is still a solid one: looks over ability. What if one girl had the true-blue powers but the looker got the job to defend the nation anyway? Sweetness. However, second blow comes from the fact that first issues fail and fail tremendously if we get literally nothing beyond what’s obvious from the two-month-old solicitation. The solicitation needs to cover maybe the first five pages, max. Then we need the actual story to progress, to go somewhere. Not so with Gallant Girl. Writers Valentino and Cahill have some cute riffs with Renee being offered a blond wig and asked to be the do-all-the-work stand-in for the untalented GGirl, but mostly this issue is expected cliché after expected cliché. It doesn’t do anything or go anywhere with the concept. It just sort of dwells on it, and throws it at the reader again and again, until we really could care less.

The characters are charming, but lifeless beyond that. There’s no weight, no depth, no anything that would be something outside of cute, nice, sympathetic in a cardboard cut-out way, like being told a story in passing about your boyfriend’s friends and thinking: “Oh, yeah, that sucks,” but that’s about all you’d ever think of it. Gallant Girl is a Shallow Sassypants; Renee is super-sincere and insecure; not one line of dialogue to offer anything in-between. And while we’re on the subject, shouldn’t this be much better than it is, what with Mr. Valentino taking over and getting solo “Plot” credit, even though the scripter (Kim Cahill) is the creator?

Which brings me to the final blow, which is that this series is the runner-up loser of the Shadowline “Create a Super-Heroine” contest, and it’s; a) getting published first (the true winning series not arriving until February), which I can’t say was a smart decision to make appearances-wise; and b) it’s now fully re-plotted by the publisher, which, regardless of how happy-dappy everyone involved is about it, is a mortal fist to the face for this book. Even worse, the story’s 100% forgettable and uninteresting, not in Cahill’s concept, but in Valentino’s idea of what makes for a good plot, which apparently is nothing new, nothing exciting, and nothing dramatically accessible.

But hey, Seth Damoose and Kanila Tripp are superb. Nothing you couldn’t get in their next comic, whatever it might be, or maybe a good webcomic or animated show. It’s great, but entirely wasted on such a lackluster comic as I Hate Gallant Girl

Final Word: Trite and unoriginal, not even remotely worth an entire $3.50 just to read, in painstakingly slow moments, what the book’s solicitation blurb offered two months ago inside of a single 100 word paragraph, Gallant Gil, with only two issues left to go, looks to be an unremarkable footnote, only worth mentioning in conversation for its contest-related trivia and origin. The comic itself? Not worth the money, not worth the time. That’s literally worthless.

I am right by the immutable laws of the universe, because I have a blog: The Gillian’s Heart Blog



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