Review by Frank Plowright
Pandora Perfect originated as one of the new features in the second 2000AD Regened, where it was a highlight. That introductory episode begins this collection, starting with career criminal Pandora Perez needing to have her ankle shackle removed. She considers the best method is to snag the universal key from its inventor, so presents herself at his house as the new babysitter. It starts as a Mary Poppins pastiche, even offering a knowing nod to her creator, but Roger Langridge and Brett Parson move quickly beyond, featuring knowing children who recognise Pandora immediately and are all too keen to help. Also helping is robot assistant Gort, designed to look goofy, and Pandora’s Infinity Bag, into which she can stuff the largest objects.
Another chaos-filled self-contained chapter follows before the six chapter ‘Mystery Moon’. For reasons best known to herself, Pandora continues to present in her nanny outfit all the way through, which just adds to the absurdism propelling the strip. Her next crime is to steal a recently delivered rare stuffed animal from the house of noted TV naturalist Dennis Allanborough, before the multi-chapter diamond heist, which naturally goes horribly wrong.
Parson’s artwork is consistently great, the designs fantastic, the comedy styling perfect, the expressions to die for and the little extra details much appreciated. Pandora and Gort have great personalities, but that’s extended to the way Parson draws anyone else from brief cameo to someone with a more substantial role, such as sausage magnate Bartleby Spugg. He’s drawn to resemble a talking sausage.
Given a premise of an all-ages crime caper comedy with an SF twist, you’re not going to find much to top Pandora Perfect. Langridge’s plots are consistently inventive, and the characters very funny without being mean-spirited. It’s a delight from start to a finish that arrives far too quickly.