I was worried that DC Bombshells might be one of the casualties of #Rebirth. Luckily, the ax didn't drop and we have been able to get even more excellent stories from Marguerite Bennett, Laura Braga, and Mirka Andolfo.
Two issues ago we had the major battle at the front, the main Bombshells defending London from the Tenebrau army. Last issue (which I didn't review) was a look back at Lois Lane and the Batgirls as they thwart a rather Trump-ian Harvey Dent running for office.
DC Bombshells #14 came out and caught us up on a number of the plotlines which are happening away from the front. While I want to know how Kara is recovering from the death of her sister and what is happening with the new League, I loved this issue for showing us the other characters we have come to know and show us what has been happening with them.
In particular, Marguerite Bennett really tugged on the old heart strings with this book. There were many touching moments in this book, some which made me sad and others which were joyous. I have said it before. I didn't expect such depth of character from a title based on cheesecake statues.
And I have probably gushed enough about artists Laura Braga and Mirka Andolfo in prior reviews. Both are able to produce excellent action sequences but also ratchet it down to these quiet emotional moments which are powerful.
We even get a new Bombshell in this issue. So it had something for everyone.
On to the book!
The first chapter focused on Mera who has been rescued by an Irish lighthouse keeper named Arthur.
There is a lot to like about this portion of the book. For one, I love how determined Mera is to get back to the front. Even stripped of her powers, she feels compelled to do good and fight for right. It would be easy for her to say 'I have done my part' but a hero shouldn't give up. I was totally impressed.
As for Arthur, he seems like a completely gentle man. He pulls Mera from the sea and is able to nurse her back to health. But in that whole time he is completely respectful to Mera. He treats her like a queen, letting her sleep in the hammock while he takes the floor, listening to her tales in awe, and deferring to her in all things.
Even his body language tells the story. Here he is on one knee.
He never once hints towards romance. He doesn't seem disappointed or disgusted when she talks of all her men at the front. He doesn't abuse his position to try to ply her in any way. And I think that impresses Mera. He is a kind soul in this world sullied by war.
This chapter ends with Mera crawling next to Arthur on the floor. This didn't seem overtly sexual. It felt more tender. Even in war, there can be room for gentleness.
The next chapter catches up with Zatanna and John Constantine.
We see the earliest history of Zatanna before she was captured and made to serve the Joker's daughter. She ran a speakeasy/sanctuary for gypsies and jews in Germany. Utilizing her magic, she is able to shuttle people to safety.
Unfortunately, the club is raided by the Nazis. Using a John Dee anti-magic ring (nice historical reference), the SS officer is able to capture Zatanna for her crimes of aiding 'degenerates and race traitors'.
Before he can put her in front of a firing squad, she is taken by the Joker's Daughter.
We see the horrible things that the Joker's Daughter does to Zatanna. She is made to serve tea, entertain in the club, and basically be a slave. Once Joker's Daughter has no use for Zatanna, she puts Zee and Constantine into a Jewish ghetto.
Here we see a dark reflection of the prior end scene with Arthur and Mera.
Surrounded by the squalor and awaiting annihilation, Zatanna tries to kiss Constantine, to be passionate. Here it felt like this was a proposition. But Constantine says no. He wants to but this place isn't the place, this time isn't the time, for the two of them to consummate things. It is touching.
Like the last scene turned on its head, this again shows that there has to be some love, some purity in this world. Wonderful. All the feels!
In some ways it is good that things didn't get to hot. Peeking through a hole in the wall is another Bombshell! Raven shows up!
Sounds like Raven is a prior servant of the Joker's Daughter. Intriguing.
The last chapter looks at Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. We haven't seen them in a while here. While working their way into Germany, drawn to the Joker's Daughter night club, Harley gives a little of her back story.
She and the Joker were sort of Bonnie and Clyde types. But at this time things are very innocent and cheeky. Here Harley has a tommy gun with a 'bang' flag. And the Joker has a pie throwing crossbow. Things are innocent.
I do like the meta-reference to Kelly Sue DeConnick's Bitch Planet. Harley doesn't have a pulpy space prison to go to.
Unfortunately, the Joker begins dabbling in darker arts. Gone are the pies. Instead we have magic incantations and bullets.
Somehow this leads to the Joker dealing with the 'Bloody Batgirl' and losing his life. Harley, having seen enough of the Joker's descending into hell, simply leaves.
Good for her for getting out of an unhealthy relationship.
But the Joker's Daughter's cabaret is not a safe place for the two.
For one, the Joker's Daughter is there and physically attacks the two.
But worse, the Joker's ghost is there. He needs a body to possess and Poison Ivy's body will do just fine.
I loved this panel with the Joker asking to dance in the moonlight. It flashed me back to the 80's Burton film, with dancing with devils in the pale moonlight.
The skirmish ends with our heroes escaping.
Freed completely from the Joker, Harley and Ivy share a heated moment under a street light. Ivy knows there is more to do than just dance in the moonlight. The two share a kiss.
All I can say is 'it's about time!!'
I know this was three chapters sent out digitally. But for an issue, I thought these endings all resonated. Mera and Arthur hugging. John telling Zatanna they can wait to do things right. And Harley and Ivy giving in to their passions. There is love and desire in all three scenes but they all play out differently. Just perfect.
I hope people are giving this a try. Kudos to Bennett, Braga, and Andolfo for this amazing issue showing us love in time of war.
Overall grade: A