Rating: 2/5 – Familiar Ground is Often Best Left Unplowed.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow.
For me, it seemed like Codename: Baboushka rode in on the coattails of Red One – Russian-based female protagonists must be a thing these days – but the comparisons pretty much stops right there. Contessa Annika Malikova, the titular Baboushka, is a white-haired former mafia boss with James Bond-like abilities. She’s out of the game, or so she thought, but the threat of extradition to the country she’s defected from (or was run out of, depending on whose story you choose to believe) forces her to take on one more assignment.
I wanted to like this book. I really, really wanted to. Unfortunately, the pacing was about as stilted as the artwork and no matter how hard I tried to get into it, something kept me from truly enjoying it. The problem with any good spy/espionage yarn is falling into the expected tropes of the genre and not being able to find a unique way to address them. In this issue I thought scenes ran on way longer than they needed to, lines I’ve heard before in other mediums are uttered, and while none of the characters are necessarily “good” people, neither are any of them characters I was able to care about.
The stiff, disjointed artwork didn’t help matters. Faces had little if any continuity to them, anatomy was constantly but not consistently distorted, and there were a hodgepodge of different styles trying to fight their way to the surface. Sometimes that works for me in a book…it clearly didn’t here. I realized the book was a lost cause for me when I found myself more interested in the background material – particularly the Maya Rodale article on action-based females – than I was in the story itself.
Image has made a name for itself in recent years by putting out some amazing creator-owned works, each with their own unique potential to appeal to readers. It’s my hope that Codename:Baboushka will find its audience, but that audience is not going to include me.
Reviewed by: Al Sparrow
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