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Grindhouse: Doors Open At Midnight Double Feature Volume 4 - Lady Danger: Agent Of B.O.O.T.I./Nebulina

    Ian Jane

  • Grindhouse: Doors Open At Midnight Double Feature Volume 4 - Lady Danger: Agent Of B.O.O.T.I./Nebulina

    Grindhouse: Doors Open At Midnight Double Feature Volume 4 - Lady Danger: Agent Of B.O.O.T.I./Nebulina
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: December 7th, 2015.
    Written by: Alex De Campi
    Illustrated by: Mulele Jarvis, John Lucas
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    This fourth collected volume of Dark Horse's Grindhouse: Doors open At Midnight series from writer Alex De Campi and a revolving door of equally perverse artistic talent collects Grindhouse: Drive In, Bleed Out issues five through eight.

    We get two stories here, the first of which is Lady Danger: Agent Of B.O.O.T.I. from De Campi and Mulele Jarvis. When the story begins, our foxy heroine, is working the cash register a at a convenience store when she gets the message: 'Lady Danger - your country needs you.' She splits this gig and, after getting orders from B.O.O.T.I (Bureau Of Organized Terrorism Intervention) high command hops a plane to arrive at a remote location where Fong Ah-Chan, a former Chinese Special Forces operative, has taken over. Since then, not only have women and children gone missing, but so too have various members of the Red Cross.

    She shows up and a firefight breaks out, after which Lady Danger shows down with the Shaolin Shock Troops! They fight and Danger once again asks Ah-Chan to hand over those he has abducted. But he splits! Of course, Danger saves the day but back in the states the C.I.A. is pressuring Danger's boss, Angela, to start doing things their way. Danger arrives back safe and sound with Doctor Washington in tow and they talk to Angela about the strange virus that Washington found in the village. But is he who he seems to be? And what's with Ah-Chan loading up a plane full of trouble and heading to Lady Danger's neighborhood? That's probably not going to end well for anybody…especially when a bunch of ninjas show up.

    On the surface this one is an action packed story of fairly nutty proportions as De Campi's ode to blaxploitation pictures throws in everything but the kitchen sink (can you think of another comic where Hasidic Jews fight ninjas in the inner city?) but if you peek below the surface a bit it does, like a lot of her work, poke a bigger issues. Blaxploitation movies always railed against 'the man' and this time 'the man' is personified by Dick, the white C.I.A. director - an obvious, but entirely appropriate metaphor. The story also deals with the issue of white acceptance (Lady Danger at one point tells Washington that it's 'a hell of a drug'), gentrification and income inequality but mostly it's a lot of completely enjoyable ass kicking. The art has a nice, loose and fairly hip style to it and exaggerated just enough to suit the over the top tone of the story.

    As to the second story? Space! The Final Fuck-Tier! That's where we head this time around as we see what happened when a group of interplanetary explorers where sent to the planet Titan to look for life in its oceans. They found it and just as one of the explorers, Veronica, was about to be devoured by the 'thing' that emerged, a group of angels appeared. Through their efforts she and Britt are transported, completely nude, to a giant snail shaped spaceship above the planet. Here they're told by the angels that the planet is dying and that it is their job to make life.

    The angels introduce the two girls to Kim, the best they're told, as she's in the midst of copulating with the tentacle creatures needed to repopulate the planet. They're then told what the expectations are: “Flick the shrimp for the angels once a week, live in splendor like the rest.” The alternative? A space funeral. Left alone in their room, Veronica and Britt get to know one another better with the help of an alien that can turn into anything from a strap-on to a whip. But do these angels really want their help in destroying the Earth? And to what lengths will Kim go to hold onto her position as 'the best?'

    What starts as a fairly comedic and beautifully explicit sex comic turns into a heady, high-concept science fiction story by the time that it's done. The story twists and turns and gets increasingly graphic but once it's all over with, a point is very definitely made and you can't help but appreciate the slant that De Campi's story puts on the finish. The sex is graphic, bizarre and erotic thanks not just to the situations surrounding it but also to the fan-fucking-tastic artwork from John Lucas. This storyline has a very European look to it, and it would seem to have been influenced in terms of art and narrative both by comics like Heavy Metal and the more explicit work of artists like Milo Manara (who contributed a cover art piece for this run). Prudes need not apply but those who realize sex isn't a bad thing and who don't take offense to graphic depictions of girls enjoying being girls should get a kick out of this one.

    In addition to the two stories we get some great cover gallery pieces (including that awesome aforementioned Manara piece), a one page Sex Pest strip from Lew Stringer, another one pager by Darryl Ayo Brathwaite, a few fake movie ads, four pages of behind the scenes work from the B.O.O.T.I. story, a Face Melter strip by Ed Luce, a Hell Hole strip by Lew Stringer, and a few pages of behind the scenes material from the Nebulina story.

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