Shanna the She-Devil
by Frank Cho
(Marvel Comics, 2006)

Frank Cho knows women, and few comic-book artists today can draw them like he can. For a regular fix of Cho's women (and anthropomorphic animals, if that's your thing), check out Liberty Meadows. Or, pick up a copy of Shanna the She-Devil, an eye-popping miniseries collected by Marvel.

Talk about your action-adventure delights. Let's see, you've got a heavily-armed paramilitary group marooned on a distant island. You've got a Lost World environment, with dinosaurs and other giant predators galore. You've got copious death and maimings. You've got a lost Nazi fortress where scientists labored over illegal genetic experiments. You've got a plague, little medication and dwindling supplies.

And you've got Shanna, a biologically engineered killing machine with a body that ... well, while the dying won't be pleasant, at least the view will be nice as you go.

The nice thing about Cho's women is, they look real. Sure, they typically have a bra size (if they typically wore bras, that is) higher than most folks' IQs. But gravity works, and when Cho's women move, their bits move accordingly. They're also appropriately muscled; no teenyboppers with a waifish bod, spindly limbs and strength like a rhino here. Shanna has muscle definition, and when she lifts a velociraptor and hurls it over a tree, her arms and legs are thick enough to make it look possible.

If you haven't caught on yet, the art in Shanna is extraordinary. And not just because Shanna wears loincloths, either; the characters and settings are realistic and expressive, and the dinosaurs just rock. I mean, there's teeth and claws and blood and wow!

Oh, and the story's good, too.

No, really. The Lost World plot isn't the most original tale in the world, but heck, you rarely go wrong when you throw dinosaurs, Nazis and superstrong supermodels into the pot and stir. It's told well, with interesting plot and character development. I mean, I'd read this story even if Shanna weren't so, well, Shanna.

But I'm glad she is.

by Tom Knapp
25 November 2006

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