Monday, August 16, 2021

Comics Review: BETTIE PAGE and the Curse of the Banshee Vol. 5 #3

BETTIE PAGE AND THE CURSE OF THE BANSHEE VOLUME 5 #3
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

[Read my review of the documentary "Bettie Page Reveals All" here.]

STORY: Stephen Mooney
ART: Jethro Morales
COLORS: Dinei Ribero
LETTERS: Taylor Esposito
EDITOR: Joseph Rybandt
COVER: Marat Mychaels
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Joseph Michael Linsner; Stephen Mooney
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (August 2021)

Rated Teen+

Bettie Page (1923–2008) was an American model who gained notoriety in the 1950s for her pin-up photos.  She is still referred to has the “Queen of Pinups,” and her shoulder-to-armpit-length jet-black hair with its trademark bangs and her blue eyes have inspired generations of artists, illustrators and comic book artists.

In the comic book, Starslayer #3 (Pacific Comics; cover dated: June 1982), the late comic book writer-artist, Dave Stevens (1955-2008), introduced a new character in the story that was the second appearance of his character, “The Rocketeer.”  Her name was “Betty,” and she was Cliff Secord/The Rocketeer's girlfriend, and she was based on Bettie Page.

The Rocketeer introduced new fans to Bettie Page via Betty, including myself.  Beginning in the mid-1990s, comic books featuring Bettie Page began to appear, and in 2017 Dynamite Entertainment made Bettie Page the star of her own comic book miniseries.  The latest is Bettie Page and the Curse of the Banshee.  It is written by Stephen Mooney; drawn by Jethro Morales; colored by Dinei Ribero; and lettered by Taylor Esposito.  In this series, Bettie, a freelance agent for the federal government and something of a monster hunter, and her partner, Lyssa McKnight, travel to rural Ireland to investigate a series of murders supposedly perpetrated by a mythical creature, a “banshee.”

Bettie Page and the Curse of the Banshee Volume 5 #3 opens in Ireland, 1954.  Bettie and Lyssa find themselves in the midst of a contingent of zombies.  After being separated from Lyssa, Bettie learns the true identity of the Banshee, but does not realize that that her realization comes with a curse!  Lyssa learns some things herself, but if she can't help Bettie, her partner will also become the undead!

THE LOWDOWN:  Dynamite Entertainment's marketing department recently began providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles.  One of them is Bettie Page and the Curse of the Banshee Volume 5 #3, which is the first issue of the title that I have read.  In fact, I have not previously read any of DE's Bettie Page comic books.

I like Bettie Page and the Curse of the Banshee Volume 5 #3, and I wish I had read the earlier issues.  Writer Stephen Mooney fills this chapter with action and with important background information, enough so that the reader does not feel cheated on content.  I like that Lyssa feels as much a lead as does Bettie, who is a bit of ditz.

Jethro Morales' art and graphical storytelling are more action-horror than dark fantasy-horror, and his illustrations jump out at the reader, whether it is back story or zombies clawing at our heroes.  Dinei Ribero's coloring accentuates Morales' art with an appropriate dark mood and atmosphere.  Taylor Esposito's lettering conveys the sense of desperation and doom that should permeate the third or penultimate chapter of this kind of comic book.

Even cover artist Marat Mychaels delivers the goods with his riff on Gil Elvgren's painting, “Girl on Polar Bear.”  I plan to be back for more of this delightfully surprising Bettie Page comic book.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Bettie Page comic books will want to try Bettie Page and the Curse of the Banshee Volume 5.

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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