SINCE the release of the last film, Darna had noticeably disappeared from the limelight. But now she’s back sexier and more beautiful—in a comic book.

Marcial “Mars” Ravelo, the genius behind Lastikman and classics Dyesebel and Kaptain Barbell, is the creator of this local superheroine.

In 1947, Ravelo first introduced Darna as Varga for Bulaklak magazine. When Ravelo transferred to Pilipino Komiks, he adapted the present name, from the Adarna bird of Philippine mythology. Darna’s adventures started in 1951 and was brought to life by illustrator Nestor Redondo.

The following year, a film version was made and became an instant hit. Fifteen more films were produced in the succeeding years, casting prominent names from the Philippine movie industry like Vilma Santos and Sharon Cuneta.

Darna became such a popular character that she appeared in several commercials and later starred in her own television series.

But after 48 years, due to poor quality production and the appearance of foreign superhero characters, her supporters declined.

Last February, in celebration of Darna’s 50th anniversary, Mango Comics launched her comeback as a comic book.

Aiming to reach a Filipino as well as a global market, the new Darna comicbook is in English.

The book begins with a hostage-taking scene, at which point Darna comes down from the sky and saves the day. She appears in her trademark red mid-rib top—each breast having star-shaped plates—, a matching high-cut bottoms with a flowing swatch of cloth at the crotch, and a winged headdress that goes well with her luscious wavy black hair.

The issue also provides a flashback of the night Narda, as a little girl, found the powerful stone that when swallowed turns her into a demigod. It helps first-time readers understand the history behind her superpowers.

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What makes this comic book good is the fact that one still gets the same Darna adventures, only they are set in present time. It also gives the present generation a taste of the classic comic hero that once hooked their parents.

Darna’s nemesis Valentina, the Medusa-type monster who have snakes as hair, is introduced as Amor, comically tagged as “the biggest pop star since Britney.”

The new Darna artists combine vibrant colors with sharp highlights and add shadings on curves that give the comic book a smooth finish which is consistent in all frames. The digital enhancement created perfection on the shapes but minimized the effect of the human touch on the illustrations.

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