Monday, August 8, 2016

Bullet Review: DC Bombshells #16

DC Bombshells #16 came out in print last week and was another great issue in the this run. Writer Marguerite Bennett uses the issue to flesh out the back story of several of the Bombshells, giving us an understanding of their motivations and fears. The back half of the issue is focused on Mera and her origin, looking at her exile from Atlantis and her dysfunctional family.

As I said, this issue really added some depth to these characters. It is one thing to have an image of Kate Kane smiling and swinging her bat in her Batwoman costume. It is another thing to learn that she has witnessed tragedy and how it has scared her. We have moved a long way from simple pin-ups by Ant Lucia. We have fully formed characters now.

As usual, Mirka Andolfo and Laura Braga bring some beautiful and powerful art. Andolfo is artist on Huntress/Batwoman pages in Europe. I love Andolfo's style which can seamlessly veer from the silly (Harley pages) to the serious. And Braga brings some weight and fascinating page layouts to the Mera pages.

My one complaint? No Supergirl and no Wonder Woman ... again. I'd love a check in with those characters. This will be a quick review.

I loved reading Huntress' origin. We hear how she was put into educational camps, fed Nazi culture of racial purity and molded into the 'perfect' submissive woman.

But Helena rebelled, escaping into her music, her counter culture, her own war on the establishment.

This whole sequence was chilling. The idea that girls, from early life, were molded into one ideal is terrifying. There was a sense of 'Black Widow' schooling in that ballet panel. But reading her voice waver when talking about a boy she kissed makes me think there is even more to her story. Interesting.

Batwoman is worried about Huntress joining the fray. Huntress is basically a kid. And this is war. Children should not have to fight.

We hear how in Spain, Kate had a 'teen sidekick' Jason, someone she called Capucho Rojo ... Red Hood. He was happy, smiling, a sort of Robin. And then he got shot and killed in combat by the Bombshell Cheetah! This loss of innocence and death of a child has scarred Kate. She doesn't want children in battle.

I love this panel, a clear homage to the Death in the Family panel of Batman holding Robin's dead body.

That is a good reveal for Batwoman adding a nice layer to her.

But the bulk of the book is devoted to Mera's back story. I love how the flashback panels have coral-like borders.

We hear how the leadership of Atlantis was not passed to the first born but to the most capable. Mera always had more skills, more prowess than her older sister Siren.

When Nereus rose to political power and wanted to marry into the royalty, he was rejected by Mera. So instead he married Siren and changed the rules. Suddenly the oldest was the chosen one. Nereus became king and Siren queen.

Mera is exiled.

I loved this panel. Mera's flighty and flirty personality in the earlier issues was one of the things I was trying to wrap my head around. She seemed almost overly bubbly in the context of the war.

Here we learn that Nereus told her to put on those airs or he would kill Siren.

Suddenly it all makes sense.

Mera decides she needs to reclaim Atlantis. She heads to the city (with Arthur who we have learned is half Atlantean) where we learn that Siren has embraced her dark penchants. She has seized the throne, killing Nereus, and claiming herself the Siren Queen.

The battle is on!

So another great issue exploring these characters. Hard to believe this all started with Vargas-like images of these heroes.

Overall grade: A

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