We’ve got something a little different in store today: DC’s digital-first Bombshells series. There are a couple of reasons it is unlike other books we have talked about so far. For one, its release structure is a little more complicated* because its digital releases are broken up differently than its physical issues. It’s also a series based on a popular variant cover theme; I can’t say for sure that something like that has never existed before, but it is a unique lineage.
Despite its strange roots, Bombshells is a lot of fun. This simplest way to think about it is as an Elseworlds story that feels like the Timm/Dini-verse Justice League. Set in the 1940s, the book takes its name from Amanda Waller’s team of heroines brought together to fight Nazis. It is bright and upbeat, and its stars—Batwoman, Wonder Woman, Mera, Supergirl, and Stargirl to name a few—are capable and confident. By the end of the “Enlisted” arc, they have begun to come together under the Bombshells banner, and arcane horrors are starting to creep out of the shadows.
There’s a lot of joy in this book. Kate Kane’s relationship with Maggie Sawyer, for example. Or the sisterhood between Supergirl and Stargirl, who are actually in training as Russian pilots. But the friendship between Wonder Woman and Mera might be my favorite part of the book—Bennett’s version of Mera is funny and eager to travel and fight alongside Wonder Woman in search of adventure.
Also, John Constantine is a rabbit.
Bennett’s take on the team treats its heroines with seriousness and respect. In turn, the art team’s portrayal of these characters avoids exploitation. Despite its roots in pin-up style covers, Bombshells’s interior pages never feel like cheesecake. In fact, a large part of the Justice League comparison comes from the art—if the book’s art is not referencing the cartoon directly, then it at least shares common influences from the animation styles of the ‘40s..
This book is a lot of fun, and if its premise sounds interesting to you, you’ll probably enjoy it. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a book that is not continuity-laden and does not require a deep knowledge of character. Like any Elseworlds-style book, though, if you do know the characters, there is something extra to get out of it.
*Bombshells comes out in weekly chapters. Each print issue collects three of those chapters, making for fairly dense issues. That density, combined with issues #4-6 collecting a second arc of the story, is why today’s entry only covers three issues—nine chapters.
- DC Comics Bombshells, Vol. 1: Enlisted (#1-3)
Writer: Marguerite Bennett | Artists: Marguerite Sauvage, Laura Braga, Stephen Mooney, Ted Naifeh, Garry Brown | Letterer: Wes Abbott | Covers: Ant Lucia