Underwater Ladies’ Picnic
Written By: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
Art By: Elsa Charretier, Hi-Fi
Letters By:Tom Napolitano
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: February 10, 2015
*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
That Starfire, she’s a pip, isn’t she? Though I’m sure that, with Jimmy Palmiotti’s recent announcement that this comic will end at issue number twelve, people are leaving the Book in droves—but I still like the spunky, naïve Kori we’ve been treated to in this book. If her incarnation in Red Hood and the Outlaws was too sexualized and mercenary, then this is the bubbly, silly counterpart to that. If I had my druthers, I’d choose the latter, and will be sticking with this ride to the bitter end! Who’s coming with me? I said, who’s coming with me??! Read on if you want to enjoy more stories of an orange woman constantly on the verge of committing a sex crime!
So remember how last issue, police chief Stella agreed to go with Atlee to her underground homeland, Strata? No? I’m not surprised, since it was sort of slipped in the middle of a lot of action. But it happened, and now we see the fruits of that seedling, which first has to emerge from its shell and become a sapling, then eventually grow into a tree, and then blossom and hang heavy with the fruits of its genetic predisposition. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, Atlee wants to take Stella and Kori back home to meet momma and poppa, and where she’s from happens to be near the core of our planet. What’s that you say? You were under the impression that it was a massive molten ball of nickel and cadmium, but apparently there’s a whole city down there, too. So the three ladies make it over to the Everglades, where one-time resident of Strata—we call them Stratavarians, incidentally—Billybob is there and ready to use his undercover surface dweller position to take them to an entrance for the underground world. As Atlee makes a big soap bubble that will transport the gals into the swampy waters and on to the Gulf of Mexico, Billybob cautions her to be careful in an ominous way that says, “There’s a reason you should be careful, homegirl.”
After the girls have gone, we see Billybob return to his shack where a giant, orange, humanoid serpent waits, with Billybob’s sister in his clutches. A completely gross mouth bug crawls out of Billybob and confirms that he’s done as instructed, which I suppose was to do exactly what Atlee asked of him. The orange snake man extorts a communicator from Billybob before releasing his sister and probably going off to join the forces of Cobra or something. Over in the descending bubble, Atlee, Kori and Stella are having a real time, drinking wine and eating cheese and just gabbing like schoolgirls. It’s pretty cool too see Kori and Stella finally bonding, but for three pages of chatter, we don’t learn anything new. They finally make it to the subterranean entrance of Strata, where Atlee is suspicious because the guards are absent. They proceed cautiously, except for Kori who flies on ahead with gusto, and eventually find that the whole town is waiting to surprise them with a big celebration! The party is cut short when Kori mysteriously becomes weakened and faints and the entire place is under attack by King Neala-Tok!
There’s so much in this issue that doesn’t seem important. The beginning had Kori’s egg hatch into a pink, furry earwig named Syl’Khee, and she convinces Sol to take care of while she’s gone. I didn’t even mention it because I couldn’t see how it was relevant to the story at hand whatsoever. I’m sure Syl’Khee will figure in prominently later on, but for Christmas sakes, a full third of the book is given over to that bug and travel preparations, then another third to floating in a bubble, with the actual story only happening in the last few pages. On the plus side, though this book doesn’t have the usual Emanual Lupachino on art, I really liked Elsa Charretier’s work and thought every panel was great. I don’t like making artist comparison, but I dare say Charretier is reminiscent of Darwyn Cooke’s style, which faithful readers will know is tantamount to me professing a nearness to divinity itself. Starfireends in three issues, so I am sure it will be losing readers by the droves soon. But if you’ve hung in there this long, why stop now?
Bits and Pieces
Another issue jam-packed with fluff where very little happens. The art by Elsa Charretier is really awesome and I’d love to see more of it. Um, what else can I say about this book without any spoilers? There are lots of cool monsters in it. Also Starfire and Stella have a heart-to-heart, which was nice to see. Do Tamaranians even have hearts? I bet they actually have like a nuclear core or something. Anyway, this book ends in three issues, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, you can keep not checking it out. But if you have been enjoying it, why not stick around until the end?