50 Girls 50 #1
50 Girls 50 feels like one of those awful science-fiction films that go to die on Cinemax. There's a premise that relies on flimsy pseudoscience. There's some space travel involved. A couple of weird alien critters show up to threaten the crew. The female characters are all pneumatic babes. Actually, the entire crew is composed of 50 women. See, in the near future humanity has ravaged the Earth like they always do. In a desperate bid to search for new resources to feed and power civilization, scientists develop an interstellar drive that uses wormholes for travel. Unfortunately, this technology is deadly to all humans except those born with a rare triple x-chromosone. With that excuse for an all-female crew out of the way, we're then informed that the first such ship, the Savannah, is returning from its maiden five-year mission. But there's a problem, and it ends up in uncharted space, orbiting a strange planet. To pass the time, the crew sends some people to explore it. Much hilarity ensues.
In an afterward, co-creator Doug Murray promises that the next issue will get more into why the crew are all gorgeous twenty-somethings. Now, any explanation Murray and Frank Cho can come up with can't possibly make this any less sillier than it already sounds. That's par for the course. It also can't really excuse the fairly limited composition of the main characters - they're mostly caucasian-Americans with the token asian and african ancestry thrown in for racial inclusion. No Chinese nationals? Again, that's also pop culture tradtion. They're all types rather than individual personalities, such as the inventive scientist or the action hero. The dialogue is probably meant to be funny, but it just feels unoriginal ("I hate bugs"). It soon becomes apparent what the real point of this comic is when the crew is shown walking around in form-fitting uniforms. The fanservice continues in the aforementioned planet-side escapade, when circumstances force the crew out of their spacesuits and into cavegirl outfits. Did I mention that they dive into the mud battling some slimy bugs?
Given the cheesecake factor, knowledgeable readers would want Frank Cho to do what he does best: draw buxom women. Alas, art duties were handed to newcomer Alex Medellin after Murray and Cho conducted a talent search. This doesn't speak well to the low priority Cho places on the 50 Girls 50, and Medellin isn't up to the task. He certainly tries hard and supplies a lot of slick surface polish. But aside from exhibiting minor rookie flaws with his figure drawing like giving the characters the same shaped head and nose, his art is just not sexy. Medellin's line is too stiff to imbue the cast with the appropriate sensuality. One thing that I find personally off-putting is his tendency to draw his figures with elongated torsos. There isn't a strongest sense of structure underlying them, so his poses come across as weirdly contorted at times. His page layouts are often crowded with small inset panels, which are themselves crammed with speech bubbles and talking heads doing their best to fill in the negative space. As a result, the page doesn't always flow particularly well.
This is an fruitless effort. Nothing is learned and nothing is achieved by the characters. Unless the world-building improves drastically by issue #2, or a more clever twist is inserted into the campy sci-fi formula, all that's left is twenty-odd pages of less than engaging "good girl" art.