Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Review: DC Bombshells #12

DC Comics Bombshells #12 came out last week and was a tremendous end to an incredibly entertaining first year. I will admit to being surprised at how fantastic this book has been. This a WWII book written with the social conscience of present day starring pin-up model versions of the women of the DCU. Kudos to the creative team for putting those concepts together into a brilliant story.

The plot has been moving forward quickly bringing us to this moment. The Bombshells are finally unified, defending London, and fighting an undead army of Tenebrau and underwater monsters. I have been clamoring for the time when the separate character threads would finally merge into one. And so we get this action-packed, war comic. But war is hell. And always has casualties. There is loss here; loss that feels natural and necessary. And heartbreaking.

Writer Marguerite Bennett has really shined on this book. Each character has a unique personality. There are varied and engaging storylines. And there is real emotion here.

The art on this book is done by Bombshell veterans Laura Braga and Mirka Andolfo. And both bring their A game here, giving us the energy of battle and the depth of emotion. I will admit, I shuddered at one page in this book because the art and words meshed so beautifully. On to the book!

The book opens outside of London. Baroness Paula Gunther and Edward Nygma have cut deals with the Tenebrau. Sea god Nereus has also allied himself and his troops with the shadow demons as well. All the machinations have led to a battle for London. And the Bombshells are there to defend the city and its citizens.

After 11 issues of these characters off on their own war fronts, slowly being drawn into this center of the war, it was awesome to see them all standing together, fighting the good fight.

It is crazy frenetic action. We see giant Krakens, shadow demons, and monsters. And all the heroes are cutting loose with their powers.

High action drawn beautifully. I mean, look at the above panel. Jaw-dropping.

The mini-boss of the issue is the Kraken. The giant octopus has waded out of the sea, into the streets, clutching Big Ben in its tentacles.

And Mera isn't going to let this creature from her world hurt her sailors, her friends, or the people of England.

She knows that lightning can kill the Kraken. She knows that calling lightning down might kill her as well. But she would rather die a hero than live life as a pampered princess or a liar.

She thrusts her trident into the Kraken and calls down a bolt from the heaven. It kills the Kraken, but also strips Mera of her powers. We see her sinking in the ocean, lost at sea.

It is an intense moment which brings Mera's story to a powerful closure. She has been this breezy, flirty, sunny presence in this book. But there have always been hints of a darker history. And seeing her sacrifice herself for the ordinary sailors she loves is superb. This is what heroes do, sacrifice themselves for the greater good.

But the Kraken is the mini-boss.

The big bad is The Titan, an amalgam of all the tenebrau soldiers, merged into a giant dark being.

And he is going to kill everyone.

Nice shot here, looking down on this monster, incredible perspective to see how massive this Titan is.

And it is scary.

The Titan tries to drown the city by calling a tidal wave.

Amazingly, Supergirl stops it by screaming. Her cry for the motherland halts the wave.

There is a lot of classic Supergirl in this Kara. That fierce thirst for justice, laced with a twinge of insecurity and sadness. I have liked this Supergirl more than I thought I would.

But it is clear that this Tenebrau giant can't simply be beaten down.

And then the page that broke me.

It becomes clear that only a sacrifice, only a death of a hero, can defeat the Titan. Each Bombshell pauses.

And then Supergirl steps up.

A panel where she is very small, which feels some introspective. She doesn't think much of herself. And then she says that she will be the one, she will sacrifice herself. That last panel, seeing her puffy eyes, sensing she's been crying, knowing she is trying to put on a brave face even though she is signing her own death warrant. Just beautiful art by Mirka Andolfo.

For a Supergirl fan, this was like a gut punch. I caught my breath, afraid to turn the page. Let's face it, long time Supergirl fans still have a little PTSD from her death in Crisis. And yet, we also know that the death in Crisis is probably her finest moment in comics.

I both loved and hated this page. Because my Supergirl would save everyone even if it cost her her own life. She would think that she was the most expendable. She would be the hero.

But I didn't want to see her die again ... and I thought for sure I was about to.

Mark this page. It will definitely be in my top ten list for 2016.

But then Stargirl steps up.

She blasts Supergirl and streaks off. She will be the sacrifice.

But this is a perfect culmination for Kortni. She was the one who always feared that some outsider would dictate her life. That she would be held captive as a doted on daughter or used as a propaganda device. She was the one who feared not being able to decide her own fate.

And this is the ultimate decision, the ultimate way of determining her own fate, to tell her own ending.

She flies into the Titan, unleashing her energy, destroying both it and herself.

Unreal. Incredible. Perfect.

And then, knowing the audience needs something optimistic, something hopeful to cling to, Bennett shows us a baby being born.

This is the circle of life, birth and death.
But this is also a tangible view of what these heroes are fighting for, the innocent.

After Mera, after Supergirl, after Kortni's death, I needed this scene.

I mean it. I was put through the emotional wringer with this book.

Kortni will be remembered, revered.

But the war is still going on. The work still needs to be done.

The Bombshells can't stop. They need to regroup and move on.


I can't say enough about this issue. This was the season finale. And it felt like one. Big moments, both action and character. Stunning art.

There are issues I read that remind me why I still love comic books as an old dude. This is one of those issues. No higher praise can be given. Thank you Marguerite Bennett, Laura Braga, and Mirka Andolfo.

Overall grade: A+


Anonymous said...

Thanks -

Anonymous said...

> But I didn't want to see her die again ... and I thought for sure I was about to.

Heartily agree with you Anj. Definately showcases the best of Supergirl, but at
the same time I was on the edge of my seat wondering if they'd pull another COIE #7
on us.

...Hope DC does continue this title in the future... as you said, it's the end of
"season 1" so to speak, and there's more to do. Can only see what the future brings.


Anonymous said...

According to future DC solicits, there are additional Bombshell issues being announced, so I guess they would be Year Two if the series.

Starsaber said...

They have already started releasing Year 2 in digital format.