Review: 100 Girls by Adam Gallardo and Todd Demong

by Adam Gallardo, Todd Demong

Paperback, 208 pages
June 17th 2008 by Simon Pulse


Details from Goodreads

Adopted, supersmart, and bumped up two grades -- it's no wonder Sylvia's always felt different. But recently she's been going through some major physical changes, and they're not of the typical teenager kind.
Sylvia has no idea why she can move like a gymnast and punch like a heavyweight, and the strange nightmares she's been having are completely freaking her out. But there are people who have the answers she's looking for, and Sylvia's determined to find them.

Trouble is, they've already found her....


Sylvia Mark is just another a thirteen year-old girl who feels separated from her peers. It is more than the fact that she has been moved up two grades and is sometimes freakishly strong -- she also feels incomplete and she has weird dreams night after night that seem to be harbingers of something dark. What Sylvia doesn't know is that she's just one of one hundred girls bred as part of a genetics experiment that gives normal humans extraordinary powers. Thirteen years ago, four girls were kidnapped and sent to families around the country to be raised and Sylvia is determined to find out why...

The first four issues of 100 Girls have been collected in the new volume The First Girl, which introduces the protagonist, Sylvia Mark. Sylvia is one of a hundred super-powered female clones -- each with their own unique power -- and one of a handful who were kidnapped from the laboratory where they were created. After a school tussle goes very badly indeed, thanks to Sylvia's super-strength, she goes on the run, pursued by the agents of the scientists who created her.

 Todd Demong's artwork in 100 Girls is particularly good; stylized and angular, with little exaggerations that enhance the characters' expressiveness. There's nothing muddy or hard to follow, and the action is well-paced. It's also refreshing to see teenage characters that don't look like supermodels; the Sylvia and the other Girls are a little gawky, a little plain, and rough around the edges, like most thirteen-year-olds.

 The writing is solid as well; the dialogue is crisp and often funny. Sylvia is an engaging -- if precocious at times -- thirteen-year-old; if there's any complaint about her characterization, it's that she adapts a little too quickly to the sudden bursts of ultraviolence that interrupt her previously staid (by adolescent standards, anyway) life. She is exceptional, of course, but she doesn't seem quite as shaken by, say, breaking the necks of mutant hounds as a suburban girl with a hitherto average upbringing might be.

 Then again, we are operating in the Girls Kicking Ass genre, and part of that is accepting that our heroine is going to start pounding the bad guys sooner rather than later. It does help that Sylvia is a fun character to follow around; her supporting cast is also strong. Especially notable is the creator of the Girls, Dr. Tabitha Carver, who could have easily been a cardboard Evil Scientist; in her own way, she loves the Girls, and is trying to do what she thinks is right. She's drawn as an attractive femme d'un certain age, a rarity indeed in most SF/superpower comics.

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