Friday, June 27, 2014


Story & Art: Tommy Yune | Inks: Vince Russell
Colors: Guy Majors | Letters: Richard Starkinks & Comicraft
Assistant Editor: John Layman | Editor: Scott Dunbier
With Special Thanks to Wai Lin Liao for Chinese dialogue
Danger Girl Created By J. Scott Campbell & Andy Hartnell

KAMIKAZE! is the rare (perhaps only?) Danger Girl story not plotted and/or scripted by the series creators, J. Scott Campbell and/or Andy Hartnell. Instead we have Tommy Yune serving as both writer and artist on this two-part mini-series, and doing an admirable job of it.

Yune's plot springs out of the original DANGER GIRL series, featuring a Japanese terrorist organization called the Kama (translated to English as "the Sickle"). The Kama's logo matches that of the Hammer Empire, and it is stated in the story that the Kama was going to team up with the Hammer to form a new "Axis of Terror" before the Hammer's unexpected end at the hands of the Danger Girl team. The Kama was founded by a rogue Japanese general in the aftermath of World War II, and is led in the present day by the mysterious Empress Doken and her right hand man, Shogunner -- a huge black-armored samurai reminiscent of the Hammer Empire's own hulking Major Maxim.

The story follows the Danger Girl team, consisting here of Abbey, Sydney, Valerie, and Deuce, along with Hong Kong police agent Mei Yaoh, as they pursue the Kama around Asia while the terrorist group searches for a long-lost anti-matter bomb developed by the Axis powers in the latter days of the War. The chase takes our heroines from Hong Kong to Cambodia to the South China Sea, where the final showdown occurs. The day is saved thanks to Valerie defusing the bomb, but Empress Doken and Shogunner -- revealed as the artificially preserved Kama founder, General Akuhido, escape.

I wondered in my review of the DANGER GIRL SPECIAL story, "Delusions of Grandeur", whether Valerie would receive a more substantial spotlight at some point, and it turns out I needn't have waited long. Val is practically the main character of this adventure, which starts with her on a rare field operation in Hong Kong and ends with her saving everyone's life, as noted above. Yune's Valerie is much more self-assured and adventurous than the version seen previously, which is a welcome development. And on the subject of "developments", Valerie here is also noticably more voluptuous than in previous outings.

Certainly there's a concern to be had with turning all of the Danger Girls into sexy and confident agents, but I'm not bothered by Valerie's changes here. She still retains her youthful enthusiasm and unparalleled technical skills, but she has grown up a bit since the first series. It seems a natural progression. Plus, Yune's depiction of the character is just more visually appealing than the gawky, pixie-haired beanpole Campbell gave us in the first series. Though I will note that he dumps one of her defining traits -- her glasses -- partway through the story, which is an unfortunate choice.

There seems to be some confusion regarding Valerie's origins, as well. I used to assume she was American, but my recent re-reading of the original DANGER GIRL turned up a line I had missed before, where Deuce refers to Val as "a computer and communications genius hailing from Oxford". The term "hailing from" means, to me, that she is literally from there. Like, she grew up in the city of Oxford in England. However, the opening of KAMIKAZE! shows a montage of the series' stars with the flags of their places of origin depicted next to them. Abbey's flag is the United States' "Stars and Stripes", Sydney gets the Austrailian flag, Deuce has the Union Jack, and Valerie has... the California state flag??

I have no problem with seeing Valerie represented as a Californian. I'm a Californian. I'm just confused by her backstory. I suppose the line in the original series could be taken to mean she attended college at Oxford, but in that case, the term "hailing from" really doesn't fit. But maybe I'm just reading too much into that one little line. However, I will wonder why everyone else gets their country's flag while Valerie's is the flag of her state. Shouldn't she also have the American flag, like Abbey?

Anyway -- beyond Valerie, Yune has a fine grasp on the rest of the Danger Girl characters as well -- both in terms of characterization and visual appearance. His Deuce isn't the spot-on Sean Connery that Campbell and Art Adams have given us, but not everyone is as talented with likenesses as they are. And besides, this story is illustrated in a very Japanese manga-esque fashion, where such a detailed rendering would stick out among the other streamlined designs. Overall, Yune's art is is fun and energetic and in some places, nicely creative. And the designs for his original characters, most notably Empress Doken and Shogunner, are quite appealing.

The story is entertaining and fast-paced as well, moving along rapidly like the sort of action movie which inspired DANGER GIRL in the first place. Yune even dives headfirst into the "movie" idea by having all foreign dialogue (in this case Chinese) appear in that language in the word balloons, with subtitles at the bottoms of panels providing translation. It's a pretty cool effect. If there are any misfires in the story, they are small ones: Sydney is believed killed in action but returns later, echoing Natalia's apparent death in the first series (though Sydney is still a good guy when she comes back). And the fact that there was absolutely no mention of the Kama teaming up with the Hammer in the initial outing reads as an obvious continuity change -- but does not really detract from the story.

Yune's addition of Agent Mei Yaoh to the story is a nice contribution too, initially presenting her as an adversary to our heroines before revealing her true allegience. Afterward she is mostly around for exposition, but she's a character I wouldn't mind seeing pop up again in future stories. Indeed, the entire Kama storyline is left as a loose end at KAMIKAZE!'s conclusion, and I feel it's interesting enough to warrant a comeback. Unfortunately this is Yune's only work on the DANGER GIRL franchise, as not all that long after this series was published, he went to work at Harmony Gold USA, the company which owns ROBOTECH, as their creative director, and has apparently not done any non-ROBOTECH comic book work since. And as far as I can tell, Hartnell and Campbell have sadly not returned to the Kama, either.

Available as part of the DANGER GIRL: DESTINATION DANGER collected edition from

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