Admittedly, I only got into Bombshells because of the aesthetics. I am a sucker for the Pin Up treatment and the DC ladies look dashing on t shirts and on posters. I treated myself to an Wondy and Ivy t-shirt based on this. When I saw that there was a comic announced, I was intrigued.
I confess that I never followed the greater DCU. A lot of characters don’t appeal to me and my wallet hates me. I have been reading comics for ten years but in some regards, I am still a ‘new’ reader when it comes to certain characters. With some I have a passing knowledge and others I just don’t feel anything. Nonetheless, I dived in and got the printed version of Bombshells #1.
It is an out of continuity book that establishes the women as the central characters. It is new reader friendly in that it introduces these characters without overwhelming them with their history. At the same time, there is a reinvention that some will find intriguing.
- In the first setting, Batwoman is the ‘Batman’ here. There is no grim and grittiness here. Kate Kane is a player for the Gotham Knights. I can’t be the only one who thought of that 1992 film ‘A league of their own’. By day, she plays baseball. By knight she is a vigilante. Her lover is Maggie Sawyer. By all intents and purposes, Kate is well taken care of but even she wants more out of life. She wants purpose. This is not too far from the narrative that Bruce Wayne has but this is Kate’s story. It doesn’t feel like a transplant of a pre-established male character’s history and white washing it with someone else’s. The only thing that changed and clearly establishes that this out of continuity takes place right on the first page where Kate as Batwoman rescues a family walking out of a showing of Zorro from a mugger. Aside from that change, Bombshells flows nicely without feeling like an agenda.
There is a controversy now in comics fandom about how certain publishers (COUGH*MARVELCOUGH*) are pandering to young female dollars by taking established male characters and changing them into females or minorities. These are female characters with histories that are waiting to be explored and shared with a new audience. There are nuggets thrown here and there that older audiences with pickier tastes will find promising and maybe, hopefully that they will want new fans to enjoy.
There is part where Maggie picks up a photo of Kate and who I am guessing is Renee Montoya based on the woman’s dark skin, hair and Mag’s reference to ‘Fighting in the Spanish Civil war with all those romantic rebels’.
The reinvention happens with Kara (Zor El) and Courtney (spelled Kortni). Here they are written as twin sisters who serve as part of the “Night Witches” regimen. The ‘Night Witches’ were an actual group of all female fight pilots. To have this be Kortni/Courtney and Kara’s story is intriguing for many reasons.
Kara as a ‘Superman’ character is an alien. As a Soviet fight pilot, she is an ‘outsider’. In the American/Western narrative, she is the ‘other’ here. This should certainly create an interesting dynamic in the future. Kortni (Star girl) is her twin. Okay, so the symbolism of Star girl being on the Soviet side here isn’t exactly full of revelations considering the ‘star’ symbol, I still want to follow the series because I am a sucker for time pieces and how character dynamics fight outside their ‘established’ settings. I do enjoy Elseworlds and What if scenarios. I like Bombshells because it doesn’t feel like I have to read fifty years of continuity to “get” who the characters are. As an ‘old’ reader, I think the book is a great jumpstart. As a ‘new’ reader, I am excited to see what happens next. Marguerite Bennett has a vision. Sauvage creates it beautifully with her art.