Last fall Asylum Press introduced me to the work of Steve Mannion with The Bomb, a trade paperback collecting his work from a self-published anthology series of the same name.
His main main character from that series, a Nazi-fighting, vaguely superhero-esque good girl existing somewhere on a continuum between Bettie Page and Tank Girl named Fearless Dawn, now has her own four-issue miniseries.
The selling point is, as it was in The Bomb, Mannion’s art, which looks heavily influenced by the classic cartoonists of Mad and EC comics, and creates a world where Arthur Adams-esque women exist alongside Eric Powell-ish men.
While the stories in The Bomb seemed more or less made up as they went along, with loose narratives, constant digressions and other features between the Dawn sections, this miniseries is much more focused in story, tone, spirit and style. It’s also in full-color.
Our title character, decked out in black leather pants, bra and lots of accessories—including the goofy rubber cowl with antlers she wears—picks up a personal, one-girl jet plane from an old mechanic and then flies off to Manitoba, exposition-ing that there’s “some new combat drug there” that “turns ‘em all into the Incredible Hulk or some $#!@”
There she attacks “Helga’s heinous hothouse of horrors…and home of the mysterious “agro” drug!”, but it taken down by that giant, Nazi monster guy from The Bomb and thrown in the slammer.
A rescue attempt is made by Old Number Seven, a member of some sort of superhero-ish group called The Syndicate with a square jaw, blond hair and plenty of thick muscles under his red jersey. He gets captured too. The pair decide the only way to escape is to inject themselves with the drug, and break out all hopped up on the monster-making junk. Cliffhanger ending!
Mannion’s plotting is extremely straightforward, in a Point A leads to Point B sort of way, with less of the humor, funny drawings and cheesecake that made The Bomb such a blast. Of course, it’s early in the series yet.
His artwork is still a complete joy to take in. If nothing else, Fearless Dawn #1 is a celebration of drawing chops, and that’s something that can never be celebrated too often.
Apparently, the first issue of Fearless Dawn didn’t meet Diamond’s new-ish, $2,500 sales benchmark, so there’s probably a pretty good chance you won’t find it on your local comic shop rack. Your local comic shop can order it for you directly from Asylum Press, or you can order a copy yourself from them, I think. Click here and poke around for ordering info, and/or to see a preview of the first issue.