In Review: DC Comics Bombshells #2

A huge letdown from the previous issue makes me question continuing with this title.

The covers: The Main cover is another beautiful piece by Ant Lucia. I swear, the man can do no wrong. This illustration has Wonder Woman and Mera being drawn in a chariot across the ocean by Gran, a dolphin. The characters look amazing, the colors pop off the image, and the sense of joy coming off of this is infectious. Just wonderful. The variant cover is by Kevin Wada and features a spectacularly stylized illustration of Stargirl and Supergirl, who have opened their Soviet togs to reveal their colorful costumes beneath. The pair are surrounded by several Russian nesting dolls, which spiral about them, designed as angry female Soviet soldiers. The coloring is really bright with pinks and reds as the highlights. This is gorgeous. Overall grades: Both A+

The story: This issue is split among three locations: Themyscira, Moscow, and Berlin. The issue opens with some Amazons wondering why Diana is spending so much time with the man that she rescued last issue. Steve Trevor tells her of the war that is going on beyond the island and the princess vows the Amazons will join the fray. Sadly, her mother, unsurprisingly, doesn’t want them to get involved. After all, they already battle “their own kind…The lost Trojans, the minotaurs, the hidden islands…” Diana leaves upset, and the Queen tells two guards that she has permitted the man to live for too long: he dies at dawn. At the water, Mera appears to speak with her Amazon friend, and a plan is hatched. The remaining six pages go through all the expected actions. I was disappointed by Marguerite Bennett’s time with this super pair. If any reader has any familiarity with these characters, they can easily predict what will happen. Frankly, it was boring. Nothing new is done with either character or the situation. Thankfully, the second story is much better. This is because the two heroines, Supergirl and Stargirl, are in a unique situation and setting. Supergirl has just revealed her powers before her squad, the Night Witches, female pilots, and things go badly. This was thrilling stuff that had a fantastic twist. The final ten pages transport the story to Nazi ruled Germany, where the Joker’s Daughter hosts a burlesque show that has Zatanna as the headliner. Her set goes well until spectator John Constantine adds to the show. This, too, was great, with the final line from the Joker’s Daughter chilling. Two-thirds of this story was entertaining. Overall grade: B- 

The art: The art is even more mixed. The opening chapter by Laura Braga is the highlight of the book. It’s beautiful work and every page has something to gush over, be it close-ups of the characters or the architecture of the setting. Having such a strong opening chapter makes each that follows lesser works. The Supergirl portion of the book has very heavy linework, making the characters look more like men than women. The scenes set at the table are just awful. It was painful to look at them. The action sequences are good, but they happen early on. Two pages feature tapestries, which is a clever way to tell a story, if they’re done well visually, but these are not. There’s no texture in the linework, with artist Stephen Mooney relying on the colorist to complete it. I felt sorry for the colorist on this chapter. The final story in Germany is even worse. Now the visuals are too loose, looking like they were composed at the last minute. They, too, are stylized, but this style is just not working. The scenes involving magic contain no magical strength, and they need too, desperately. The panel showing off Zatanna’s legs and the audience illustrates the problems with Ted Naifeh’s work — just too sketchy. This hodgepodge of styles ruins the strong showing from the premiere issue. I find it incredibly disappointing that DC couldn’t find one artist to work on the first three issues. There’s more than enough talent available, but for some reason different artists must have struck editor Jim Chadwick as the right thing to do. It wasn’t. Overall grade: D

The colors: Here the book is successful. Wendy Broome does a good job on every page. Her scenes on Themyscira are beautiful, especially when Mera first appears: the sky and water are gorgeous, Gran’s skin photorealistic, and the characters shine with power. Magnificent. In Russia, there’s a terrific pink sky that serves as the background for the action sequences. In close-ups, such as at the table, Broome has to finish the artwork, such as completing noses. She adds the texture to the tapestry pages with her coloring. She’s going beyond the call of duty for this portion. Germany is fairly dark and dim until Zee takes the stage, and then things go violet. When John gets involved, greens come into play. Broome is the saving grace on the majority of this book’s visuals. Overall grade: A

The letters: Narration, scene settings, whispers, dialogue, story title, credits, sounds, songs, German dialogue, and the “To Be Continued!” are brought to life by Wes Abbott. The variety of fonts is strong and I am in love with the opening title and credits. I’d like to see Abbott on more books. Overall grade: A

The final line: A huge letdown from the previous issue. A so-so story with poor visuals makes me question continuing with this title. Overall grade: C+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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