“Alpha Girl” is a visually pleasing mis-fire

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Alpha GirlAlpha Girl – Volume 1
Collects issues #1-5
Written by Jean-Paul Bonjour & Jeff Roenning
Pencils by Robert Love
Colours by Diego Simone
Published by Image Comics

We are living in zombie times, where there is an abundance of all-things zombie in today’s popular culture, giving us a mix of many good zombie-related things, as well as many bad zombie-related things, with this new series from Image unfortunately leaning more toward the latter. It stars a rebel girl teenager, Judith, who teams up with a couple random people she meets while trying to survive a sudden zombie apocalypse brought on by a cosmetics company. Their new experimental product has turned women everywhere into mindless barbaric man-eaters. Yes, it’s okay to groan. And no, the comic’s execution does not elevate its problematic sorta-sexist premise.

The artwork is eye-catching, both the covers and the interior, and is probably what catches the interest of potential readers the most. Undoubtedly, this is a fine looking book. Its “cartoonish” style translates action sequences rather well, and the primary colours consistently draw you in . It has a defined brightly lit comical aesthetic, which goes hand in hand with the comic’s loud sense of humour. This anti-”Walking Dead” does not take itself seriously for a second, and it does not expect its readers to take it seriously either. This comic is the equivalent of a b-movie popcorn flick, and it is constantly winking its intentions. It looks like writers Bonjour and Roenning and artists Love and Simone had a ton of fun crafting this book, which basks in its joyous existence with its comedy which is perhaps a little overbearing, and an acquired taste for sure. It relies heavily on immature “guy humour”, which does not bode well considering the already iffy premise of all women becoming brainless killers. “Girl” may be in the title, but this comic comes across more-so sexist than it does feminist/female empowering.

alphagirl01_p1“Alpha Girl” is a self-contained five-issue story that is not plotted or paced in an especially effective manner. Its first issue jumps briefly into the post-apocalyptic world only to then spend the rest of its time in flashback, explaining the cause of the women-gone-mad outbreak. The second issue is then primarily spent on Judith’s back story, and she does not meet her main companion in the series until their awkward meeting at the end of the second issue. For such a brief comic, it spends too much time on exposition, and in the first half fails to deliver on its b-action movie setup. It feels like the story should really be starting around the time frame of the third issue, but then, the later issues are not particularly stronger than the early ones. Its obnoxiously tongue-in-cheek sense of humour, which is present on nearly every page, prevents the narrative from ever working as a zombie or survival story. Its constant need to be lite and funny kills any stakes and one is left not caring one way or another about the outcome, as predictable as it is.

This unfortunately disappointing comic wore out its welcome long before the end of its fifth issue. “Alpha Girl” is an attractive book and it had the potential to be a funny and engrossing tale of post-apocalyptic zombie-killing girl-empowering action; instead, it is a misfire in every way.

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