Buy This Book: ‘DC Bombshells’ #1 Knocks It Out Of The Park
At first glance, DC Bombshells seems like it's operating on a pretty weird premise. It is, after all, a digital comic based on a line of statues that reimagine the company's heroines with retro, pinup-inspired designs, and while a lot of them have been pretty great, trying to create a narrative based around an aesthetic seems like a tough task. In practice, though, Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage don't just rise to the occasion, they demolish it.
In a summer that's been marked by some of DC's strongest new titles in years, from Black Canary to Prez, the first digital chapter of Bombshells came out swinging and knocked it out of the park with what might just be the best first issue of the bunch.
For starters, it's got one hell of a mission statement. In an interview at EW, Bennett mentioned that she wanted to make it clear right from the start that the heroines of the Bombshells universe weren't derivative of their male counterparts, and she and Sauvage illustrate that in one of the most effective ways possible. The story kicks off with a "newsreel footage" setup that's going to be pretty familiar if you've ever seen, you know, any DC Comic: A rich couple and their impressionable son coming out of a showing of The Mark of Zorro, only to be met by a gun-toting holdup man.
The the difference is that in this universe, those two bullets never get fired, because Kate Kane drops down from a fire escape and proceeds to beat the living mess out of Joe Chill with a baseball bat while a starry-eyed Bruce watches with glee.
It's a fun twist on the familiar story that sets the tone for how these heroines work --- and why they're working --- but also something that reads like a take on the classic "To Kill A Legend." Or, you know, maybe that's just me reading way too much into it. Either way, it's fantastic, and it just gets better from there.
This particular issue is very character-focused, setting up the dynamic between Batwoman and Maggie Sawyer (and, briefly, shortstop sidekick Bette Kane making a surprise cameo) before an amazing last-page reveal arrives to set up the future action. And on each and every page, Sauvage's art is incredible.
This shouldn't be a surprise if you're already familiar with what Sauvage has been doing this year - her variant cover for Ninjak was one of the year's best in a walk --- but her work here is next level, and a lot of it comes down to how she approaches the pinup aesthetic that the book demands.
There's always a thin line between sexy and exploitative in superhero comics, and while Sauvage's characters are certainly beautiful and glamorous, all the way to their carefully coifed victory rolls, they never feel like they're just posing for the sake of posing. There's a fluidity to the work that makes it dynamic without ever sacrificing that glamour, and I think it says a lot that this is a comic with a splash page of Kate Kane and Maggie Sawyer sleeping together in '40s lingerie that doesn't feel like it's just there for eye candy.
Instead, it's that romance that drives the book's second act, and it works beautifully on every level, from the dialogue to the visuals. It's one more thing to love about a book where it's easy to love everything.
Weird premise or not, it's a promising start for a series that I've been looking forward to for a while, and I can't wait for the next installment.