The Aladdin Effect (Marvel Graphic Novel #16)
Issue(s): The Aladdin Effect (Marvel Graphic Novel #16)
The town of Venture Ridge, Wyoming, has been cut off from the outside world. People don't seem to remember how to get there, and people inside the town find themselves trapped there by an invisible forcefield. The town devolves rather quickly (only two months!) into a lawless post-apocalyptic society...
...where the local sheriff is barely able to keep his own family safe.
His daughter, Holly Ember, is a big fan of super-heroes, and has a scrapbook full of clippings from newspapers and magazines.
Her father rather unnecessarily burns the book for fuel, which really feels like a dick move. It's not like the book would burn for very long and provide much heat, and it was her one escape from the misery of reality.
But soon the girl manifests reality-warping powers that allow her to summon her favorite super-heroines, She-Hulk, Storm, Tigra, and the Wasp, to the town. They initially arrive without memories and She-Hulk, especially isn't interested in being cooperative, but they eventually get their act together. Meanwhile, the villains of the piece, a duo of over-the-top super-villains leading a division of AIM, reveal themselves. They detected Holly using her powers and want the town to hand her over. The sheriff is able to convince the townspeople to rally together and, with the help of the super-folk, they fight off AIM.
While it's said that the AIM division was operating a research facility, it's not actually revealed why they would cut off access to the town.
I's a poorly written book. The town's immediate fall into lawlessness is absolutely unbelievable; the town's sudden turnaround after the sheriff's speech equally so. AIM's motivations are ill-defined, and "Timekeeper" and his girlfriend are badly written (and designed) villains.
The one thing this story potentially had going for it was the fact that the lead character is a young girl and her idols are all female super-heroes, which could have made the book appealing to female readers.
Unfortunately, Greg LaRocque really ruins any chance of that with some really cheesecake art (i could demonstrate a lot more than these but it's not that kind website, booger).
Storm just becomes naked at one point in the story.
The Wasp is gets naked, but i guess you can attribute that to the realism of her not having her unstable molecules.
Oh, and there's a near-rape scene for the Wasp...
...and the implied threat of one for Holly (i can only guess that Brian Johnson of AC/DC was the inspiration for that argyle-wearing tough)...
...and we learn that the one thing the She-Hulk hates more than anything is the suggestion that she might be a lesbian.
Separately, i'm pretty sure the Wasp just straight-up kills an AIM agent here.
After the fighting is all over, Holly uses her powers to get the super-heroines into their costumes, giving the Wasp an opportunity to stick her butt at the camera.
So, bad story, no doubt. I'm not sure how a story like this made it to the Graphic Novel format, but i guess i need to reset my expectations on that front because i find that i keep saying that.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Even thought this was published in 1985, Storm is depicted with her pre-mohawk look. Wasp and She-Hulk are both mentioned as active Avengers, but Wasp refers to Tigra as a "some time Avenger" so this would take place after she quit the team in Avengers #214. I've placed this according to the MCP's placement, but it seems anywhere between 1982-1983 would work as long as all characters were between stories.
Continuity Implant? N
Reprinted In: N/A
That woman near the bar appears to be twirling her bra around, yet she still has a shirt on...
The idea of a team of powerhouse iconic female Marvel heroes on a team just sounds as awesome as having the big three Avengers or several classic X-men together. It's sort of too bad they didn't play around with it in the real universe.
Well, there was the Lady Liberators, which was at least better than this...
Yeah, Marvel's graphic novel line was filled with some really bad work, with a few gems scattered throughout.
Another blog recently noted how bad prestige books like Excalibur often were. Better paper grade, higher price, and regularly some of the worst fill-in stories imaginable.
Was the theory that kids would buy this stuff just for the brighter paper, so you actually didn't have to run stories that were even up to the line's average quality? Fanfare, the GN line, and things like non-Davis Excalibur were so bad there has to be a deliberate reason.
Some fanzines announced this with the title "Stolen Heroines".
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