Excitement, mayhem and adventure are the order of the day as the Digger girls return.

The first Gold Brick collection to be in color sees Gina, Britanny and Brianna going to such places as the Halls of the Extremely Dead, Muthia, the local shopping mall, Jade and the Explorers Society Banquet. Meet such diverse creatures as Djinn, dragons, leprechauns and tuna fish. Have inventions that would make any mad scientist jealous as hell and military hardware that would make the pentagon drool uncontrollably. But at the heart of it all is still that simple feeling of fun that is rarely seen in a lot of the media today.

As I related in an earlier review, Gold Digger is Tomb Raider on steroids, and where it differs and betters the game even more are the ideas writer/artist Fred Perry comes up with. A good example of this is the stand-a-lone story featuring Britanny and her hunt for the tuna fish that made her lose her wedding ring. The dangerous artifact in the tale and its background story/mission would give the creators of Tomb Raider a whole game level. Perhaps its time for the computer games industry to talk to people who really know how to tell good stories instead of letting programmers do it.

Gold Digger Panel 1

Gold Digger © Fred Perry

Of course, Gold Diggers main influence was Indiana Jones and although the archeology aspect for this part of the Digger saga is slightly put to one side, it still manages to come up with the goods when required. The main tale concerns the girls’ mother, Julia Diggers, as she tries to regain her lost title of Arms-Master of Jade. This means having to compete in the Tournament of Arms, a brutal combat contest that is particularly hard for Julia as each of her opponents are just as good and one of them happens to be her mother. But this is just the icing on the cake for the bad guy’s real scheme, the domination of Jade. How it all turns out, plus the revelation of what Jade really is, plus the introduction of newer characters that lead into larger plotlines prove that comics are the only place today in literature that take the saga genre seriously (instead of being single volume doorstoppers).

The fights are incredibly kinetic and you can feel each of the blows. Perry’s skillful use of close-up and movement lets the tale flow, and the usage of Burne Hogarth’s multiple character method to show time is perfect. But his forte is definitely in his characters faces and body stance. Look how in two panels, Julia’s mother turns from stern leader of the Barbarian clan to doting grandmother or Dr. Diggers disapproves of his wife’s return to her old sensei.

Gold Digger Panel 2

Gold Digger © Fred Perry

How the whole saga is told is fast, furious and funny. With numerous characters that are fully fleshed-out with a location that has a sense of history. Perry’s transition to color has meant that some of the subtleties of his B/W days have been lost to color shading, but its a minor loss as the whole package has been enhanced by the move to color and his use of a single stroke to indicate emotion is still one of the best on the market.

Gold Digger is one of the finest examples of American manga on the market and although only the leprechaun community could possibly object (due to its racial stereotyping of leprechauns, “Thieves!!! Always after me lucky charms!!”), its comedy, adventure, sexy female archeologists make it one to read and enjoy.

Gold Digger: Gold Brick III is written and illustrated by Fred Perry, published by Antarctic Press and available at all good comic-book shops priced £32.99

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