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#65 [Oct. 20th, 2008|10:15 am]

100 COMICS TO READ BEFORE YOU DIE (or grow out of them)

#65 KILLER PRINCESSES – Gail Simone, Lea Hernandez

“In the early days of America, everybody got along great except for slaves. Then this big jerk guy from German Europe named Hitler got mad at the Olympics and started the Holocaust.”

If you thought Charlie’s Angels was a triumph for feminism, Killer Princesses is probably not the comic for you. Its princesses are three all-American college girls who alternate their studies with undertaking missions as butt-kicking action babes, but completely amoral and empty-headed ones. They’ll just as happily execute the good guys as the bad, so long as they can look stylish, deliver some quips and beat up a legion of goons while they’re at it. Lea Hernandez draws those goons with almost-identical faces during the gun-fu action sequences, showing them as essentially unimportant props standing around waiting to be kicked, shot and exploded.

There is a lot of kicking, shooting and exploding, in addition to stabbing with kitchen implements, dangling down elevator shafts, general kung fu and bone-breaking in X-Ray vision in Killer Princesses. Basically, everything you could want from an action movie where tough heroes bounce from one set-piece to the next and foil a mastermind’s plot with some snappy one-liners.

Gail Simone’s comics are aimed at the young, but they sneak in plenty of things that parents don’t usually expect comics to have in them. Those things include smutty innuendo, extravagant violence, titillation and swearing – everything a 13-year-old loves about comics – all of which Killer Princesses has in spades. But it also includes an unexpected and perhaps unwelcome message, stated plainly. As one character puts it, “The idiots are winning.” It’s a valuable lesson in a world that likes to congratulate itself because Bill Gates is rich, as if proving we value intelligence. But one rich nerd doesn’t mean the shallow and stupid won’t inherit the earth. Killer Princesses’ ditzy protagonists are the more likely future, our illiterate mall-spawned overlords whether it’s guns or tiny dogs they’re carrying in their Louis Vuitton bags.