Published on October 7th, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
Codename Baboushka #1 Review
The Conclave of Death
With a new Bond movie on the horizon, it somehow seems fitting that Antony Johnston’s long planned espionage/thriller sees a release this week. Following the adventures of part time socialite, part time mobster and part time super spy, Codename Babushka is a thrill a page masterpiece bursting with action and steeped in classic secret service traits.
But before we get to the comic, we need a theme tune…
(Sorry but I’ve had that song stuck in my head since I read this comic. And now we can all share in the pain)
Issue one of Codename Baboushka is as close to an origin issue as you can get without being one. The two different elements of the narrative showcase the central characters; what they can do and why they do it. However there is still plenty of ‘history’ left untouched for future issues and stories. Even some of the revealed backstory feels like it’s going to get closer inspection later in the series.
Johnston opens his story in a South American Mountain range where one of the World’s most famous criminals is hosting a party full of dubious guests. Goran Sablic is nasty through and through so when Baboushka turns up there’s not going to be any love lost. From the very beginning the art work is impressive with a painterly style that instantly gives the comic a different feel to the majority of titles out on the rack. There is definitely a Manga influence to Shari Chankhamma’s work which is most noticeable during the earlier fight sequences with our heroine dressed in a maid outfit. The panels are brought to life with energetic figures in the midst of movement and backgrounds that blur out of focus to highlight the foreground action.
Antony Johnston has crafted a script that marries the action with detailed character work. The section of the story set in New York where Baboushka meets the secret organisation that eventual blackmails her in to helping them (the bastards) is highly conversational but a combination of beautiful design and a fast paced script make it as exciting as the South American setting.
I’ve already mentioned Chankhamma’s art but the character design for the central character deserves special mention. The Contessa Annika Malikova is a stylish Russian woman who looks the part of Russian royalty but as Baboushka she’s as convincing as a tough spy. Everything about her works and is believable, from her physique to her costumes to her gadgets. Whether she is walking into a high class restaurant or hopping over an electric fence in the middle of the jungle, Chankhamma illustrates Baboushka with style and strength, allowing her to move as a highly trained spy would move; with purpose; with poise; and with an element of flair.
If you’re a fan of James Bond, or indeed the espionage genre in general, then you’ll not want to miss out on Codename Baboushka. It’s a thrilling, entertaining and just damn right glamourous comic. More please!
Title: Codename Baboushka
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Antony Johnston
Artist: Shari Chankhamma