BookBin2016: DC Bombshells Volume 1: Enlisted


Not only am I on a bit of a graphic novel kick at the moment, but I’m also still focused on my own books rather than ones from the library. This one is the latest graphic novel I procured from Amazon: the first volume of collected comics for the DC Bombshells story line.

I love the “organic” way that this series came about (I use organic in quotes because I’m pretty sure that this was ultimately DC’s plan right from the start. Because jaded.). What began as a series of one-off variant comic covers depicting DC heroines and villainesses as WWII-era “bombshell” pinups has spun into this special edition series of stories detailing how these characters played a role in the global fight against the Nazis.

I suppose that one could state that this feels a little flippant. It trivializes the bravery of real people. However, when you keep in mind that several comic heroes rose from the turmoil of this particular piece of history, including Wonder Woman (who should remain linked with World War II…but I’ll have more to say about that later), it brings things into better context. Horrific events sometimes require a different lens through which to process truths that we oftentimes do not wish to contemplate. An even better example of a graphic novel that deals with this devastating stain upon humanity would be Art Spiegelman’s Maus. If you haven’t read that one yet, then I highly recommend it.

Does this series deal with WWII with the same level of success as something like Maus? Oh, no. But that’s why Maus is a Pulitzer prize-winning effort and this is…not. It’s just different. It’s sometimes serious but mostly with this first volume, it’s more about introducing us to the various Bombshell variants chosen for this series. I love the characters chosen so far. Of course, my favorite is Kate Kane. I’m still mourning the demise of her solo run at the hands of DC Comics ineptitude (and possible homophobia). Seeing her in this series made that disappointment a little less tender. Also, I love how writer Marguerite Bennett pretty much erased Batman from this particular timeline thanks to Batwoman. Given my increasing apathy toward the Dark Knight (more on that to come as well), I really enjoyed this particular timeline shift. Also, I’m not really giving away any spoilers since this happens on the first page of the graphic novel.

Interestingly, my last encounter with Bennett’s writing style left me feeling a strong sense of meh-laise (yes, I have created a new word; you’re welcome). She wrote some of the final Gail Simone run for Batgirl. This time around, Bennett was much stronger in storytelling. Her words also garnered accompaniment from some beautiful time period-inspired artwork. Heavy line work, appropriate palette, and gorgeous renderings of our lovely ladies of DC in the styles of the times made a great visual impact upon a solid opener to this series.

Final Verdict: Keeping this volume and patiently awaiting the release of the next one this June.

BookBin2011: SexyChix

I actually finished this comic anthology a little while ago. Is it a reflection of my opinion of this collection that it then completely fell off my reviewing radar?


True, I did get a bit…excited by the arrival of my last BookBin entry and pretty much everything else fell off my radar. But, seriously, can you blame me? I thought not.

Anyway, it wasn’t until I saw SexyChix sitting atop a pile of books that were waiting for me to either find space for them on my shelves or to donate them that I remembered, hey! I read that! Can I remember anything else about it?

Kinda sorta. I do remember a few high points. I also remember a few WTF points. However, there is a desert of meh resting between those two summits of emotional response that is probably more damning than anything else.

It’s a shame, really. First, this was the other purchase I made from that really groovy used book store we found while in Toronto, so technically I could claim to have traveled a great distance for this collection. Second, I like being supportive of my gender, especially when I’m supporting the activities of said gender in a forum that is typically male-dominated (such as the comics industry).

That being said, “supporting my gender” cannot be the only thing going in favor of any product. I feel, however, that that’s really the only thing that’s even remotely consistent about this collection. It’s also the major thing making me feel slightly guilty about giving it such an unsupportive review.

Then again, I pride myself in being an equal opportunity whiny hater.

SexyChix is an unfocused mash-up of styles, stories, and skills, the end result of which is discordant and disappointing. Were these short stories only, perhaps the range of plots and topics wouldn’t be so jarring. However, the wildly divergent artistic approaches and talents create a constant visual reminder that this is not a cohesive collection at all. It’s the literary equivalent of a dogsled team in which there are a few very strong, very fast dogs pulling along several dead dogs.

Yeah, I went for the disturbing visual just then. Is it any wonder I hate the Iditarod?

As I said earlier, there were a few bright spots, whether they were for exemplary writing or entrancing artwork. Are these enough to convince me to hang on to this collection?

I want to say yes. I really, really do.

But I can’t.

Final Verdict: Be gone to disappoint someone else.