Overview

Honey West #1

Review

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Honey West #1

Credits

  • Words: Trina Robbins
  • Art: Cynthia Martin
  • Colors: Mark Simmons
  • Story Title: "Killer on the Keys - Chapter 1: Bikini Death"
  • Publisher: Moonstone Books
  • Price: $5.99
  • Release Date: Aug 18, 2010

Before reading Honey West #1, I only had a passing awareness of one of the world’s first fictional female private investigators. Sure, I’d heard of the name and the 1960s TV show but other than that, Honey was little more than a genre footnote to me. Thanks to Moonstone Books’ new series, I have a whole new appreciation of Honey West and her contribution to detective fiction.

First appearing in 1957’s This Girl for Hire, Honey West is a veteran of eleven novels and a TV show that ran for a single season in 1965-66. With heavy feminist overtones, titillating plots, and a sexy, capable protagonist, Honey West captivated both men and women for over a decade, until 1971 when her creators Gloria and Forest Fickling finally retired the character.

You can’t keep an ultra-sexy, animal print-wearing P.I. down for long, though.

Reintroducing Honey to a new generation of admirers in Moonstone’s new series are Trina Robbins and Cynthia Martin, arguably two of the most well respected women creating comics today. Heck, never mind their gender, Robbins and Martin are two of the most well respected (and talented) creators working today. After seeing what they’ve done with Honey West, I can’t imagine anyone else even remotely more appropriate for this book, regardless of gender.

This is evident from the opening page, both story and art acting in tandem as they can only do in comics, with a beautiful introductory sequence that establishes the premise clearly, concisely, and with deceptive simplicity. Robbins’ plot appears simple and conventional at first, opening with a sultry damsel in distress flouncing her way into West’s office, fearing for her life and livelihood. She hires West, offering her a position at her nightclub, so the P.I. can work undercover to uncover the mystery behind a disturbing death seemingly meant for the owner herself.

Robbins keeps things moving at a good clip and throws enough twists and a red herring or two into the plot to keep it interesting. The catfight between West and a fellow go-go dancer midway through the issue didn’t hurt either. Robbins understands this character very well; realizing the story’s level of sophistication needs to be balanced by an equal amount of levity and titillation.

Martin’s crisp, clean art helps bring everything together in a slick, gorgeous package. Somehow her lines are sharp and soft at the same time, each panel constructed with care and thought following easily and logically from one to the next with minimal distraction. Martin channels the tone and style of Honey West’s native epoch with ease and grace. Her artwork in this issue is, without a doubt, some of her strongest ever. Hell, it’s some of the strongest in the medium this year – no exaggeration.

Smart, sexy, fast, and fun – Honey West #1 gives fans, new and old alike, the total package. Easily, one of my favorite comics of the year thus far and highly recommended.

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