Oni Press 2016
Written by Janet Harvey
Illustrated by Megan Levens
Coloured by Nick Filardi
Lettered by Crank!
Dolores Dare follows a lead on the April Fool's Killer to the Ambassador Hotel, where the crooked world of Los Angeles gangsters meets the lobster-and-champagne set from Hollywood. With the help of dogged reporter Aggie Underwood, can Dolores get close to the killer without ending up in trouble herself?
That Janet has done her homework and the seedy underbelly of Hollywood at this time is on full display is both magical and disgusting to see. Dolores is Broad and that’s a full on compliment here, she can dress as seductively as she likes but she’s tough as nails and isn’t a pushover. She’s one of those rare women who are honest in their portrayal, whose passion and prowess go beyond what we should expect from women in comics.
This issue we meet Aggie one of L.A.’s toughest reporters who knows when to stick her nose into something and when not to keep pushing. Joe and Dolores see her and bring her the story of their dead friend. I like the way the two women interact with one another there’s that alpha dog kind of hierarchy going on with them as they seem to jockey for respect and understanding. Will Aggie take up the story and run with it remains to be seen but Dolores isn’t going to sit still and wait she wants, no needs to do something now and this leads her to a place full of misdirection.
I am very much enjoying seeing Dolores find herself in the seedy underbelly of Hollywood and what takes place there. Young starlets wanting to make it in pictures getting a “casting call” for something that turns out to be nothing more than them being call girls of a sort for executive bigwigs. It’s a time when the Hollywood studio business is very much run like the Mob where anything goes for a price and the men in charge are more ruthless than the world at large will ever realise.
Megan and Nick’s work on the interiors is some great stuff. The use of page layouts through angles, perspective and the use of backgrounds really make reading this a pleasure. The style of dress, the clothes, hairstyles and the like are much like old Hollywood and kind of characters of their own. The way these women can be strong and sensual while being dressed to the nines or simply in everyday wares really stands out here.
As Dolores finds herself getting deeper and deeper in this world she’s unprepared for it’s going to take all that she has and to reach reserves she doesn’t know she’s got to get through it all. This is a wonderful look at a time where the mystique belied the terribly tragedy of it’s reality and one that is still swept under the carpet as all too many wannabe starlets find their way to tinseltown and are used up and spit out. Mixing old Hollywood glamour with its seedy mob-like underbelly Janet brings this world to life beautifully!