Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Bad Girls

Written by Alex De Campi
Art by Victor Santos

I think that Alex De Campi must be one of the most underrated comics writers in the business.  She rarely writes the same kind of book twice, and has shown great diversity and originality in her output, demonstrating equal skill at depicting dystopian science fiction in Smoke, riveting teen relationships in No Mercy, spy thrillers in Mayday, romance stories in Twisted Romance, and cheesy genre exploration in GrindhouseBad Girls is her take on a crime thriller, and it's a real treat.

The story is set on New Year's Eve in Cuba, the night that Castro took power.  It focuses on four women, and is centred around El Edén, a casino that caters to wealthy Americans, and has connections to the mob.  It's run by a sociopath, whose girlfriend wants to leave him, but has so far been frozen by terror (although she's happily sleeping with his driver).  Two other women from the club are main characters.  One is a single Cuban mother trying to decide where her loyalties lie, while the other is a singer who is not going to let a visiting mobster take advantage of her.  The fourth "bad girl" is an American who is simply looking for the best time possible, and becomes an easy stand-in for the traditional ugly American character, more interested in finding a better party than noticing how many people are fleeing the country.

As the night progresses, things get wild, especially when one of the women figures out how to get away with suitcases full of money amidst the chaos.

Victor Santos is the perfect artist for this book.  His choice of layout helps propel the more suspenseful moments forward, but he also manages to give each of these women a strong sense of character.

This is a very cool graphic novel, and it's beautifully produced.  I recommend checking it out.