Friday, September 2, 2016

DC Comics Bombshells Chapter #59 Review and **SPOILERS**

The Fix is In for Vixen

Written By: Marguerite Bennett
Art By: Miraka Andolfo, Wendy Broome
Lettered By: Wes Abbott
Digital Price: $0.99
On Sale Date: September 2, 2016


I’ve been threatening it for a while, but since Jim’s shaming of me and my promising ways last week on the podcast, I decided that it’s time to bit the bullet and start reviewing Bombshells. It’s unconscionable that Weird Science DC Comics Dot Com, long a vanguard for DC’s Digital Firsts line of comics, should not be acknowledging as popular and as important a book as Bombshells. It’s just that so much had come before, and the longer I procrastinated, the more it built up—I mean, this is chapter 59 here, for crying out loud! But I’ve decided to just dive right in, take it on the chin, and wallow in the critically-appraised goodness that is DC Comics Bombshells. Come wallow with me, won’t you?

Explain It!

So this is actually part two of a three-part story titled “Men Who Would Be Kings,” and…what? Why didn’t I review the first part? I told you, I’m diving right in! I did read the previous chapter, though, and it was about Vixen competing in the 1936 Summer Olympics and winning the gold medal right under der Fürher’s purview, an then using her time in Berlin to steal some Nazi plans from Hitler’s office. And she also trashed the place and stole his dog. Well now it’s 1941, and we’re aboard Vixen’s luxury yacht in Zambesi, Africa (perhaps sailing down the Zambezi River?), and she’s telling Selina Digatti (aka Bombshell Catwoman), Kate Kane (aka Bombshell Batwoman, and the name of the current Batwoman), and Reneé Montoya (aka Bombshell Question…as well as the Question in the pre-New 52 DCU, so chew on that one continuity slaves) about what went down last chapter: she discovered a plot to kill Commander Amanda Waller, then helped her pick the first Bombshells. Just then, Vixen’s girlfriend Sheira flies over on a jet pack wearing a very Hawkgirl-esque ensemble—we met Sheira last chapter, as well, and she helped Vixen grab the Nazi documents. Vixen asks Sheira to see Catwoman and Batwoman to their quarters so she can have some alone time with Reneé Montoya.

And of course, they don’t screw or anything, but this whole thing is drenched in sexual innuendo and sultriness. Sort of reminds me of a Russ Meyer film, with all the double entendres and smoky-eyed gazes going on. Frankly, I kind of dig it, gives the whole thing a 40s movie vibe, that seems fitting for a book about pin-up vigilantes. So Vixen and Reneé try to get to know one another—more like Vixen tries to get to know Reneé—and Reneé admits that she is uncomfortable loafing around on a yacht when there’s wartime butts to kick. Vixen tells Reneé she’s gotta lighten up and forget about Spain, and I assume they’re referencing the Spanish Civil War from the late 1930s? Has to be. Seems that’s where Reneé met Kate, where they lost someone beloved to them named Jasón, an event that Reneé seems to think turned Kate into Batwoman in the first place. Reneé says she is hesitant to enjoin a new battle when the old one is not finished—“I have a list of kings to kill,” she says. Vixen says they may have a common cause. Oh, and Hitler’s dog is hanging out with them the whole time, which is cool.

Now we get whisked back to the Dominican Republic, 1920, when Reneé Montoya was a willful, tomboyish little girl. She was the daughter of an old, wealthy family, and was meant to be part of high society, but her wanderlust brought her to seek out artifacts in some jungle in 1930, something that she then wishes to study. Her dad sends her to Spain, to study uh, anthropology and archeology I’d imagine, and tells her not to return for some time, because things are getting tense in the old Dominican Republic. This must be referencing the imminent dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo, who would have a bloody reign over DR from 1930 until he was assasinated in 1961. This is like a little history lesson! Though since this happens in an alternate universe, I would love to see the little differences. Like, do you think Rafael Trujillo would actually be Rafaela Trujillo? And maybe instead of a bloody reign, she could have a silly one inspired by the Dadaist art movement? Anyway, while Reneé is in Spain learning all about artifacts, she finds a girlfriend and a semblance of happiness. One nagging thorn is that her family back in the Dominican Republic keeps telling her not to come home, and their letters are becoming more and more splattered with blood! (Yes, I know it’s allegorical, sheesh.) Back in the present day, that is to say, back in 1941 Zambesi, Sheira is driving the crew to Site B, and Reneé is reflecting on the tyrants that have taken her homeland, and her adopted land of Spain. Vixen notes that there’s a new tyrant in town (Hitler, fyi), and they can take him down using a giant stone rhinoceros carved with symbols that has been excavated at Site B. Theoretically.

This is pretty cool! For one thing, I love the art. It’s really expressive and Miraka Andolfo’s line flows in a very satisfying way—evocative of, say, Elsa Charretier, someone whose work regular readers of my reviews [crickets] know I like a lot. The story is good, and chock full of that twentieth century history they never got to in the public school curriculum—but I’m also a big history nerd, and I wonder if this would turn some people off. Ahh, screw ‘em! My only complaint is that there was an awful lot of talking in this chapter, and not a ton of action, but it’s so chock full of interesting story that it feels like a three-dollar comic. And that’s how we’re going to bring the comic book industry to its knees, folks: supporting three-dollar comics that are only going for a buck. Join me, comrades, in the revolution!

Bits and Pieces:

A lot of real-world history mingled with phony locations and personnel are what great comics are made of, and this one is stuffed to the seams. The story is really interesting, and might be of particular interest to history buffs, though it is really wordy and not exactly full of the punching and kicking we've come to expect from comic books. The art is great, very tight and yet lively, and I sure would like to see more of it in the future. This is a cool comic book, worth checking out for the dollar!

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