DC Bombshells #1
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Marguerite Sauvage
The Bombshells were a popular theme of recent variant covers for DC Comics, a reimagining of major women in the line as 40’s pin-up girls. Sexy women are common on covers, occasionally crossing major lines of taste and stirring up controversy, like the recent hypersexual Spider-Woman variant. This theme, though, depicted the women as playful, confident, and empowered. Men and women alike have appreciated the sexuality but also the creativity and the callback to history, leading to a proliferation of these images onto statues, T-shirts, and pint glasses (many for sale at Ultimate Comics in the Chapel Hill and Raleigh locations!). This week, that popularity goes deeper, with a comic book to give character to the ladies in the pictures.
Marguerite Bennett was an excellent choice for this book given her involvement in books like A-Force, Years Of Future Past, and Angela, all celebrating the diverse ways in which women can be themselves in a male-dominated genre. To tell the story of DC heroines shining during World War II, she initially follows Batwoman, one of the line’s most prominent lesbian characters. Kate Kane cheekily stops a mugging in Crime Alley, then wins a Women’s Baseball League game (because BATS, right?) before going to home to her girlfriend, Maggie to bemoan how useless she feels. It’s the same message as Captain America’s first movie but a million times less whiny. Next, Bennett flexes her writing with a harrowing aerial battle scene introducing Steve Trevor to Wonder Woman and her Amazons, as gripping as any war story you’ve read. Finally, she takes us to Moscow for alternate versions of Supergirl and Stargirl who are training as pilots but are forced to reveal their superpowers during a terrible crash. All of this is told with stunning, rich art by Sauvage that lines up with the pin-ups but anchors them in a detailed historic presence.
This book is terrific. I love female characters, and I love when they are celebrated for their qualities rather than pitted rabidly against caricatures of the evil men who oppress. This book nails all the gender beats that made A-Force a must-have, and it’s one of the best things I’ve read out of DC in months. This book would be good enough to launch a line of licensed T-shirts and pint glasses all on its own, and it seems impossible that a story like this came from trying to connect a few pretty pictures. Well done, DC. Congratulations.
If you have an inspiration to cosplay any of these stunning looks, consider taking your skills to this weekend’s Oak City Comic And Toy Show, Sunday from 10 to 5 at the Hilton, 3415 Wke Forest Road in Raleigh. If that’s too soon, get ready for the North Carolina Comicon the second weekend of November in Durham!
Matt Conner for Ultimate Comics & NCComicon