The queen of the Gilmoran Empire has abdicated her throne because she is barren. To replace the empty cushioned seat, 10 women must compete in a deadly series of challenges. Winner takes all, losers get eaten in Fight Girls #1.
Fight Girls #1
Sal Cipriano (letterer), Frank Cho (artist and writer), Sabine Rich (colorist)
July 7, 2021
We don’t get to see much of the politics behind the abdication of the Gilmoran throne, but from the snippets of ominous dudes in shadowy spaces, we know that something fishy is afoot. We’ll have to wait to find out what that might be, as the first issue of Fight Girls focuses on the first of the four challenges that await these 10 women from across the realm. Royal blood or low born, it doesn’t matter; the ancient Contest of Champions will determine who will rule the empire.
And so, we meet our 10 contestants. None of whom are memorable, except for Eye Patch, who seems to wear an eye patch specifically so that she stands out from the others. Though creator Frank Cho attempts to differentiate the women in their competition headshots, there is little to truly define them beyond variations in hairstyles. There are a few attempts at diversity, but this largely comes down to colorist Sabine Rich choosing a different palette for one or two characters (which doesn’t follow through on the covers). There is very little dialogue for the women as well, so little opportunity to get to know their personalities — except for Eye Patch who quickly dons some badass bitch tropes. Eye Patch is actually named Xandra Blackwater, a commoner who hails from Deep Mine, Helgrave. She proves herself to be the one to watch out for when she comes out of the gate literally swinging, taking out the favorite right at the start. And damn right she should. We’ve all seen or read Hunger Games and Battle Royale. Who’s got time to hold hands and make friends when your lives and the throne are at stake?
The playing field in Fight Girls #1 is a lush jungle with a pristine temple that the contestants must reach on the other side. Based on their attire and — other than Xandra — the very casual attitude the others seem to have about what they might face, no one has done their research about the Contest of Champions, much less actively prepared for it. Drawing on his time in the jungles with Marvel’s Shanna the She-Devil and Dynamite’s Jungle Girl, Cho’s artistry truly shines when he gets to play with dinosaurs and other toothy, deadly creatures. Sure, his women are tightly drawn with just the right amount of musculature to make their competition-worthiness realistic, but because they all look similar, are drawn with very little expression, and have no personality, they quickly become far less interesting than the creatures that come to deal with them in the first challenge. By land, water, and air, the challengers fall prey to various monsters that are too cool and deadly for the amateur dinos that wander around Jurassic Park.
The mystery of Xandra’s past and her intentions are teased toward the end, along with a bit more insight into the world Cho has built. Though we spend most of the time in a jungle arena, we get a few snippets of the technologically advanced society that surrounds it. Are all these hints at something more enough to hold interest? Eh. I guess. Future challenges reveal that there will be sharks, and, as much as I love dinosaurs, I’m a sucker for a good megalodon.