Written by: Marguerite Bennett
There is a House...
Art by: Elsa Charretier, Hi-Fi and Wes Abbot
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: August 31, 2016
I don't know how many times I said on our podcast that I wouldn't be reviewing this issue. I still feel a bit like I'm faking the funk by reviewing an Annual for a book that I haven't been reading, but I guess I'll just have to go with the old adage and "fake it 'till I make it". Actually, I won't be making anything, but since Reggie has taken up the mantle and started reviewing the Bombshells Digital First chapters each week, I figured I should get this up on the site. I know this all sounds like I'm dreading this whole affair, but that's the farthest from the truth. I love the whole Bombshells concept...I just hate looking like a dummy. So, at the risk of exposing myself assuch, here is my review for DC Comics Bombshells Annual #1...
The issue opens in 1941 with Killer Croc rowing through the Louisiana swamps towards the Belle Reve Manor House. Yea, that sounds pretty awesome right there, right? Through Croc's monologue, we learn he is after someone close to him...someone who has gone bad. It's pretty easy to figure out who and what he is after...The Bloody Batgirl of the Bayou!
We then cut to West Point and get a little of the alt history that I love in stories like this as well as being introduced to Francine Charles (as in...FRANKIE CHARLES!!!). After cleverly putting this book in the Indiana Jones universe (or vice versa), we see some other awesome Bombshells and then find out what Frankie's first mission is...to find Barbara Gourdon!
I just want to point out how awesome it was to see Frankie in this book! She is a character that is so easy to fall in love with and Marguerite Bennett does a great job of introducing her in a way that makes so much sense that it is crazy how much she fits in immediatley.
We then get a very extended background story of Barbara told in visuals and song and while it could be looked at as padding to the extreme (it's nearly nine pages long!), I really enjoyed it. It doesn't hurt that Elsa Charretier's art is so stunning, but more on that later. The song and tale end with Barbara heading off to a place we've already seen, Louisiana.
The story continues with Frankie heading to Louisiana as well and that's when we finally get to see Barbara. We also see that she has a couple of friends with her. A Seer, a Witch and a Vampire await Frankie and it is all tied up in magic, myth and folklore. Almost immediatley, a brawl breaks out and while Frankie holds her own at first (with sword and tongue), the inevitable happens and our girl finds herself trapped in the basement of the Manor...and she's not alone.
Croc is there with her and after explaining himself through a Dracula reference, let's Frankie in on the magical four-way going on with him, Enchantress, Ravager and Batgirl. This is where the tables turn in a delightful way and show that everything that's happened was all to plan and the plan is recruiting the four baddies. Also, it shows that Frankie is one smart cookie, though she might get angry at me for that nickname!
I say all this, but then we get to see Frankie's recruiting and it is a bit rough around the edges. Rough, but eventually effective thanks to a great entrance by Croc. a change in the prophecy keeping them locked up in Belle Reve and the promise of Barbara's lost love being restored.
The issue ends with the introduction of the new Bombshell's tactical team and while I won't say the name, it is pretty easy to figure it out. It's also pretty easy to see how awesome they are and want to see more of them right away!
Marguerite Bennett does a great job of twisting and turning things to show that they not only fit in her world, but truly belong there. The way she slowly unfolds the story here until the light goes on in the reader's head as to what she is up to is outstanding and I really do want to see more of this team. As a new reader jumping into this story, I can easily say that this Annual is completely new reader friendly and if you are like me, you will want to jump into the series proper right after reading it.
Even if the story wasn't so great, I would still recommend it for Elsa Charretier's art alone. She is the heir apparent to Darwyn Cooke and believe me when I say that that's a huge compliment, but also one that is already well deserved. I want more of her art and DC better get with it and sign her exclusive right here and right now! She is a star of the future and the future is now!!!
Bits and Pieces:
Marguerite Bennett and Elsa Charretier give fans of Bombshells a great story and the beginning of a new team. The added bonus is that it is a great jumping on point for new readers as well. This issue has me totally onboard with this series going forward and is even forcing me to read back issues to catch up. Yes, it's that good. The combination of story and art is actually beyond good and if the Bombshell's Universe intrigues you, grab this issue and get totally hooked. I know I did!