Friday, March 4, 2016

Review: DC Bombshells #10

DC Comics Bombshells #10 came out this week and was another wonderful issue in a wonderful title. I started buying this book because a version of Supergirl was a character in the cast. But I have been floored by how entertaining it is. This issue has no Supergirl in it. But I didn't notice or really care. Because the two halves of this book are so strong, that it didn't bother me.

Writer Marguerite Bennett has brought a lot of depth to the characters in this book. Everyone reads as fully-formed and three dimensional. And in this issue, Wonder Woman shines like a star. It has been a while since I have read a Wonder Woman book where I felt inspired and awed. But this Diana gets there.

The second half of the book focuses on Batwoman and it is also poignant and powerful. But I almost wish I had read it at a different sitting than the Wonder Woman scene. Because I was so blown away by Diana that I don't think the emotional weight of the Batwoman segment hit me until I reread it.

The art remains superior on the book. Laura Braga has been handling the Wonder Woman scenes. She brings a nice sharp look to the proceedings. We veer from WWII battle to Lord of the Rings, but it works. And Marguerite Sauvage brings a breezy feel to the heavy Batwoman pages but it has a magical sensibility which works with the plot.

Moving on ...

Wonder Woman has been active in Greece with the army. She has butt heads with the treatment of prisoners of war in an American camp. But the ethics of war has been put on the backburner when Baroness Paula Von Gunther arrived with an army of undead under her command.

Von Gunther is a classic Diana villain from the Golden Age so I love seeing her here. In this book I love how she wants to be served and worshiped, having people submit out of fear while the tenebrau run roughshod over the planet.

But Amazon gauntlets?? Now that is a great wrinkle. Is she an Amazon traitor? And riding a winged horror-show horse like the Nazgul? I mean it. She is a super-villain!

Realizing that the tenebrau will kill both American and German alike, Diana shepherds everyone from the camp into a cave and collapses the entrance. For the time being they are safe and separated from the Paula's undead.

Remember, these are people in a cave who moments ago where enemies in war, now united against zombies. And Diana lays down the law.

How can humans hate each other, attack each other, consider each other as 'different'. Is this is what the outside world wants? Chaos and conflagration??

It is a simple statement pointing out the insanity of war.

But then there is the 'drop the mike' moment.

She challenges the soldiers to think of the legacy they are leaving. She demands they do better.

She asks them to submit to her and redeem themselves.

And they do ... all of them.

That is Wonder Woman.

This gave me goose bumps.

 German and Americans alike leave the cave and rout the undead.

The soldiers want to kill the helpless Paula but Diana stays their hands. There will be no more deaths. In fact she offers Paula to join the cause. But the Baroness teleports away, still faithful to her tenebrau allies.

After years and years of a sword-wielding, killing, 'warrior first' Wonder Woman, it was so spectacular to read an inspirational ambassador fighting for peace.

This whole section was simply brilliant. Brilliant.

The second half is set in Germany. The Bombshells have been slowly coming together and in this chapter Catwoman, Huntress, Batwoman, and Zatanna are all involved.

Last issue, Batwoman was captured by the Germans. Catwoman and Lex Luthor vamp it up in her car. Lex seems nonplussed by the whole thing, wondering if they should care about saving Kate. It is rather clear that Lex is in this for Lex. He doesn't seem to care who wins this war as long as he ends on top.

Catwoman has been a sort of villainess in this book, a black marketeer who vamps with everyone. But the sense has been that her heart has been in the right place. She talks seductively to Lex but as soon as he leaves, she and Helena set out to save Kate Kane.

Kate is wooed by the Nazi Party. Their commander Nacht keeps trying to have her give up her cause and join him. He wants her alive and wants her to be a part of the upcoming Reich.

But Kate is a Jewish lesbian. How can she possible fit in with the Nazis? And trotting her in front of imprisoned Jews in a ghetto can make the German more sympathetic.

But Nacht says he serves the tenebrau, not Hitler.

It doesn't matter.

Kate has to fight this oppression.

She speaks about the Jewish experience, or persecution and perseverance. And she will fight. And she will inspire her people to fight.

(The one thing I will question is how Kate magically appears in her costume. Where did it come from?) 

Catwoman and Helena arrive and join the fight to drive out the Germans and free the ghetto. But they are aided by Zatanna who has cast a spell to destroy her enemies. The magical avatar is a dove which is a nice symbol. But here it definitely has an American eagle feel, appropriate for this war time story.

This is another winning chapter. The power of Kate speaking about the prejudice against her people and fighting for freedom was powerful. The magical dove sweeping in with mystical wavy energy bolstered Sauvage's art here, a nice complement to the action.

So another fine print issue of the Bombshells. But the Diana chapter stands out as the bright spot of this series so far. I was floored. Hard to do that to a grizzled old-time reader.

Overall grade: A+

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