The Abject Lack of Quality That Is... Banzai Girl
If you ever find yourself suddenly consumed with a desire to read the worst, most exploitative comic imaginable, but can't find any back issues of Tarot or Ant, don't worry: Banzai Girl makes a dandy substitute.
Yes, long before Anita Blake redefined the world of softcore supernatural porn comics, there was Banzai Girl, a comic based so heavily around upskirt shots that issues were actually offered bagged and boarded with Official Banzai Girl thongs.
No, seriously. Ask your friendly neighborhood retailer.
The plot, such as it is, is a lot like a paper-cut: thin and surprisingly painful. Nevertheless, I'll do my best to get through it.
Created by beauty pageant winner and schoolgirl unform enthusiast Jinky Coronado, Banzai Girl concerns the adventures of, well, beauty pageant winner and schoolgirl uniform enthusiast Jinky Coronado, thus placing it squarely below the latter works of Chris Claremont in the Grand Heirarchy of Published Fan-Fiction. One can assume, however, that Jinky-the-Artist does not battle as many tentacle monsters as Jinky-the-Character.
Ah yes. Tentacle monsters. Because what else could it be?
These particular octopedian horrors--referred to as the "Shadow Whisperers" for no particular reason--are interdimensional fiends bent on conquering the Earth as part of their sinister plot to acquire... Calcium. Because apparently, obtaining the fifth most abundant element on the planet requires them to brutally murder pretty much everyone they run across and viciously shred Jinky's clothes at every opportunity from their secret headquarters in the basements below the shopping mall.
Of course, due to the refractive properties of Calcite and other sciencey-sounding expository dialogue, Jinky's troubled by dreams about her interdimensional counterparts, who look just like her, except with even more fetishistic outfits. Essentially, it's the late-night Cinemax version of Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld, but starring Space Cheerleader Jinky, who rolls around in a "liquid metal battlesuit" blowing things up with a space-bazooka, which inevitably causes her skirt to blow up and reveal her Liquid Metal Battlethong™.
Amazingly, this is actually less fun to read than it sounds.
Fortunately for Jinky--the character, not the creator, for whom nothing I say in this post can be considered "fortunate"--she's got a standard-issue crew of friends to help her fight the creeping terror of calcium-deprived monstrosities:
First up, we've got Jinky's sidekick, Katie J., who is always referred to by her full name every time she's discussed. With her short, spiky hair, penchant for wearing combat boots and fatigues beneath her party dress, and hatred of--and I quote--"girl clothes," Katie J. could only be more stereotypically leading if she offered to give Jinky a massage while they watched the WNBA.
Next up is the Veronica to Jinky's Betty, Michelle, her good-natured rival in the local beauty pageant. Aside from having parents who get mind-controlled by the evil dairy-craving tentacle beasts, Michelle's only remarkable for reacting to her best friend being abducted by monsters in the mall's dressing rooms by... going and recording herself singing karaoke. Truly, this is the stuff of legends.
Also, as depicted, there's one time where she completely forgets to button up her shirt, which, really, ought to be expected at this point.
Rounding out the cast--so to speak--is geeky horndog Rommel, so named because somebody thought it was a good idea to name a comic relief character after a famous World War II German Tank Commander, and alleged movie star Miss Miko, who contributes absolutely nothing to the plot aside from vaguely resembling a leftover female version of the Scorpion from late-90s issues of Spider-Man. Charming!
Oh, and there's also an "adorable" cartoon character stuffed animal brought to life by an explosion of "life energy" or something, but you know what? I can only take so much. Let's move on to the story itself.
Needless to say, it is not very good. Let's see here: Scene transitions are nonexistant and the dialogue reads like every third word was replaced with a panty shot. The major adversaries that are built up for the first three issues actually aren't the culprits behind the mall-related abductions. That dubious honor belongs to a monster who shows up at random and is later revealed to be the brother of the mall's owner, who hands out a few million dollars after Jinky beats up the monster, thus setting everything right. And the Shadow Whisperers, much like the Horrors of Party Beach, can be defeated with the liberal application of salt.
And then in the last issue, there's an extended musical number.
But that's not the worst of it. No, that's when Jinky gets her new battlesuit from her father, who may or may not be an inventor of some kind, a distinction left ambiguous by the half-formed script. Said battlesuit, like the halloween costumes of my childhood, has her codename written right on the chest, as well as some amazingly creepy extra powers.
Yeah, I think I'm done here. When someone starts battling the forces of darkness with the power of highly inappropriate groping, there's not a whole lot I can add to it.