Comics / Comic Reviews / DC Comics

The Plain Janes: The Book That Launched Minx

By Henry Chamberlain
July 26, 2008 - 11:52

The Plain Janes is the book that started it all when DC Comics brought out its Minx line last year: comics geared towards a younger female demographic. That said, concerns over marketing and packaging getting in the way of a good story are hard to resist at first. We start out with a scene that looks like moments after a terrorist attack: a teenage girl is struck down by a bomb blast and is comforted by a little flower growing between a crack in the sidewalk.

Her parents decide they've had enough of Metro City and move to the suburbs where Jane must find a new way for herself. She goes on to make friends with a band of misfits, three other girls who happen to be named Jane. The four of them, under the leadership of the new Jane, form an artist guerilla group that stir their community up with random acts of art like creating pyramids out of materials at a work site for a dreaded strip mall. Is all this coming together in too neat a package? Well, it would seem that way, but then you want to give in as you read further.

The new Jane has a connection to a boy she stumbled upon at the bomb blast. He went into a coma. She recovered his sketchbook and has been sending him letters to his hospital room ever since. It is his sketchbook that inspires Jane's art crusade. It is this boy who provides the link to coping with the tragedy at Metro City. Sure, here is even more material ready to pull at your heart strings. Still, what ultimately makes it work is the execution. If you're going to go sweet, then stick to it and give it all you got. That vision finally comes through and will win you over.

Castellucci's writing is consistently good. Jane is a little sweetheart who just wants to make friends and get on with her life. Jim Rugg's art is a perfect match to the tone of this book with its mellow charm. We look forward to the depiction of each smile and sigh. Ultimately, The Plain Janes expresses the same vulnerable feelings and gentle inspiration found in the story's tattered sketchbook with the title on the cover, "Art Saves."    

Last Updated: January 24, 2022 - 11:00

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