Monday, 27 March 2017
COMIC REVIEW: POPOVA #1
Popova #1 Life After Death
Creator/Writer: Dre Torres & Alex Valdes
Illustrator: Yasmin Liang
Letterer: Kuen Tang
Design: Amin de Jesus
Buy Link: www.popovaworld.com
Reviewed By: Sandra Scholes
In a male dominated world, women are used and abused in family life and relationships with no one to help them when they need it most. The Rozanov Centre for Women's Equality is different; for these oppressed women , this is their only refuge. On the outside the centre appears to be a place battered women go to get advice, but the reality is much more sinister - if they pay a fee, an assassin will track down and kill their evil boyfriend/husband/father.
After an assignment went wrong, Scarlet Rose decided to fake her own death to go under an assumed name, Leila to have a normal life complete with a boyfriend, the boyfriend in question knows nothing about her previous life as an assassin for the Rozanov Centre.
From the moment I got this comic through the mail, its packaging and the pro look of its cover assured me that this had the potential to be a hit with fans of comics that had female protagonists as the main focus of the story. Torres and Valdes have between them created a strong woman in Scarlet/Leila. In the vein of the 70's blacksploitation movies, Leila does all she can to put food on the table so that she and her boyfriend can live in relative comfort. Her clothing and attitude, plus her softer side show through in Popova, but her skills at finding and taking out her target are second to none. The start of the comic gives a good indication of how ruthless she is as she knows nothing about the person she is about to kill, but for the right amount of cash, she is prepared to go to any lengths.
Leila once thought her own sex were the oppressed, yet even women can deceive, and the result of their deception has Leila righting the wrongs they have done in the past. This also serves to break the one rule the Centre for Women's Equality stands for, none of the female assassins can kill other women. More than an assassin, Leila is a crusader for justice who has seen how even women can manipulate and destroy as much as any man, seeing herself as a great leveller.
What I enjoyed more than anything else was the simplistic art, the inking and general chiaroscuro of the finished comic. It is dark enough to be noir and the pacing between panels is such that I saw enough to be convinced this is good enough to be a decent comic series which has already garnered a great deal of interest online. Some of the comic has humour in it, and that made me happy as it doesn't take itself too seriously. It doesn't make the shocking parts any less so even if Leila isn't as bad as she seems. Leila might have the perfect home life, but her boyfriend might be her undoing if what I read is anything to go by.
Summary: Back from the dead and ready to kick ass! There's plenty to love with this fast-paced, stylish thriller that pulls no punches. Writer and artist team PopovaWorld give readers an idea of what they can do for fans of comics who want to try something new.
This first issue of Popova also has an alternative cover designed by Amancay Nahuelpan.