You guessed it. Last week was Wonder Woman week. After the usual drip, drip of Wonder Woman ’77 and Injustice: Gods Among Us throughout the rest of the month, Wonder Woman week gives us the major fix of Wonder Woman and Superman/Wonder Woman on top of that, too.
But we had a new arrival last week, too: DC Bombshells, a World War 2-set adventure that sees Elseworld versions of all DC’s major superheroines (and some supervillainesses) ganging up to fight the Nazis. And only the Nazis.
I’ll explain after the jump.
DC Bombshells #9
As you can tell from the issue number, DC Bombshells has been running for some time, starting during my August break, which meant that I didn’t have a chance to discuss it. So this is catch-up background time.
Let’s start with this:
It’s one of the ‘DC Bombshells’ range of statues and is obviously the Wonder Woman member of the collection. These are basically statues of DC’s superheroines, but done in the style of World War 2 pin-ups and propaganda posters. Obviously, Wonder Woman is modelled on ‘Rosie the Riveter’:
From those statues, grew some variant cover art for various DC Comics:
And now it’s become a weekly title for DC. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t Wonder Woman already fight the Nazis?
Well, yes, she did and indeed the DC Bombshells introductory issue for Wonder Woman, #2, is largely a retread of her introduction in Wonder Woman #1, with plucky Steve Trevor crashing on Paradise Island while fighting the Nazis near Greece, way back in 1940, and Wonder Woman rescuing him and taking him back to the outside world to fight the Nazis.
The observant will notice that, of course, America didn’t even enter the war until December 1940, let alone fight on European soil, and this is one of the ways in which Bombshells’ universe diverges first with ours and the DC Universe in general. That and apparently ‘Peloponnese’ is a place in Greece in this universe, rather than the entire southern peninsula of Greece being called ’the Peloponnese’.
More importantly, there are many DC superheroines who weren’t created until after the Second World War – in some cases long after – and Bombshells creates a universe not only where those superheroines were around, but one in which superheroes weren’t. Issue #1 gives us the well known adventurer, business magnate and baseball player Kate Kane, whose life as the vigilante Batwoman enables her to save Thomas and Martha Wayne, and their young son Bruce from a terrible mugging.
To its credit, Bombshells’s author, Marguerite Bennett, also remembers that World War 2 wasn’t fought just by Americans, but by the Allied Powers and each of the superheroines so far – with the exception of the Atlantean Mera, who’s never going to be queen so decides to go adventuring on the surface – has represented one of those allies. So far, we’ve had no Brits, although John Constantine hopped up briefly, but taking a leaf out of Red Son, Supergirl crashlanded in Russia and is ready to stand for truth, justice and Soviet collective farming in the battle ahead, all while flying a World War I biplane. Wonder Woman is, of course, Greece’s representative, Zatanna here is Jewish, and Selina Kyle is in fact an heiress… an Italian heiress.
Hmm. People really do seem to forget whose side Italy was on for most of World War 2, don’t they? Wasn’t it largely Mussolini’s armies in Greece in 1940. Do people not remember Όχι day?
That’s Elseworlds for you.
Given the subject matter and inspiration, artwork on Bombshells has been a little strange. Largely, it’s been plain old modern day comic book in style:
But principal artist on the title has been by Marguerite Sauvage. First, let’s have a little quote from Susan Faludi’s Backlash:
In times of backlash, the beauty standard converges with the social campaign against wayward women, allying itself with “traditional morality”; a porcelain and unblemished exterior becomes proof of a woman’s internal purity, obedience and restraint…
By contrast, athleticism, health, and vivid color are the defining properties of female beauty during periods when the culture is more receptive to women’s quest for independence…
During World War II, invigorated and sun-tanned beauties received all the praise… with the war over, however, … a new breed of motivational research consultants advised cosmetics companies to paint more passive images of femininity.
Sauvage is no stranger to Wonder Woman, having drawn a Sensation Comics or two, and she’s a fine artist. But while the inspiration for the DC Bombshells Wonder Woman has been Rosie the Riveter in all her colours, the internal artwork is Sauvage’s post-War, backlash vision of the Amazons and Wonder Woman…
It’s an odd choice to say the least, given the series is inspired by a piece of artwork, to use a style that embodies its exact antithesis.
Introduction over, let’s look at issue #9. Mera and Wondy hit the mainland and there they find Americans fighting Nazis. Here, we get our first real slice of action in Bombshells, with Wondy showing them what she’s made of.
And guess who’s among the American soldiers, oddly fighting in tanks in the surprisingly unmountainous ‘Peloponnese’? Why, it’s Lois Lane’s dad! And he recognises someone who could be added to Amanda Waller’s new team of superheroines…
It’s quite fun, although I should point out that Wonder Woman – for some reason – appears to have made up some Amazonian story about a mother bear that bears (ho, ho) little resemblance to either the Greek or Roman versions of the Callisto story (no, not her off Xena). Must be another Elseworld thing.
I’ll actually try to keep this brief, since it’s not a great issue. While Clark is off meeting President Obama (seriously. So not as Elseworlds as all that…), Wonder Woman is busily trying to prove to the US government that all of Clark’s nearest and dearest aren’t involved in trying to overthrow society. They all consent to have the Lasso of Truth placed on them, they all confirm they’re not out to destroy the government.
The end? No, because then Clark breaks in and for some reason, acts like Diana has been raping/torturing them. Huh. I’m assuming stress, pretending to be annoyed to brace Diana for a (temporary) split, etc, but all the same, what a dick. I mean, it’s not like she’s even calling Steve Trevor ‘Steve’ like she normally does.
And then big fighty weird things happen.
Diana saves Clark’s life from a big whirlpool in space-time.
And Clark’s a dick about it. What’s going on?
Not a great read, with some exceedingly average artwork.
Wonder Woman #44
Not that I’m one to nitpick or anything, but that cover – shouldn’t Wonder Woman be standing behind Strife for that cover line to work?
Anyway, last issue, Aegeus killed The Fates. How’s that work then? Shouldn’t everyone in the whole world who’s just been born now have no future?
Also last issue, Donna Troy escaped from Olympus, with a little bit of help, and is now in London. And talking of Elseworlds, what an odd London it is. There are people who talk like they’re in Mary Poppins and who live in some Neverwhere version of the capital…
There are right-hand drive double deckers buses from 15 years ago driving on the right-hand side of the street under weird arse New York-style streetlamps and passed traffic lights that are green at the top and red at the bottom.
And the clothing appears to be straight out of a tragic 90s pop video.
But as the Fates are dead, that means the gods are in trouble. Why? Beats me, but Hera claims it’s because the Fates were the only thing keeping the gods immortal now that everyone’s stopped believing in them.
Meredith Finch is pretty much a crowdpleaser and is trying to please fans with her continuity references, here referring to Volume 2’s school of thought on the gods’ powers. Of course, it made sense there – that’s why the gods end up sending Wonder Woman into the outside world, in order to drum up support for them. But it’s bobbins in the nu52/DCYou because the gods are still powerful and have been going out and doing all kinds of godly things in full view of everyone. London, in case anyone forgets, is supposedly still recovering from when the First Born laid the whole place to waste a couple of years ago.
Nevertheless, all the gods have retreated to Olympus. Bereft of creativity, the Finches essentially reduce this down to “all the gods you’ve already met since we can’t be bothered to bring any new ones in”. And Hera wants Diana to come too, since someone has been in Hephaestus’ place, making some god-killing weapons, just like the one that Deathstroke’s got.
Unfortunately, while they’re all on Olympus, that Aegeus pops up. Oops.
Is it any good?
I’ve been a little unfair on it, since it does a few good moments and a few good lines. Brian Finch is a step up in artwork from the stand-in last issue, too.
But as usual, this is a regression towards the mean – traditional, average comic book telling that does nothing innovative, while lots of people explain the plot incessantly.
And for a couple that explained away the need for the new, somewhat dull, all enveloping Wonder Woman costume because there was always the chance that Diana could be drawn inappropriately, they don’t half have her going into the shower a lot. That seems remarkably easy armour to remove, too.
Wonder Woman ’77 #10
Men are being killed off by being frozen to absolute zero while simultaneously being burnt. Sounds like a job for Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor.
Who can it be? Celsia, of course!
No, I’ve never heard of her, either, actually.
Is it any good?
It’s a step up from the last story, giving us a new villainess, one who’s in neither the comics nor the TV series, in a story that could work in either medium. It also gives us some exchanges that would actually fit right into the TV series.
Couple that with new artist Cat Staggs giving us a Wonder Woman, a Steve Trevor and a Diana Prince who actually look right, and you have a good start to a potentially good story.
Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Four #20
Turns out Poseidon’s not dead after all. After Batwoman, Batman, the Flash et al help save the Amazons from drowning, Zeus turns up to reprimand Poseidon for nearly drowning everyone.
Zeus is miffed at Superman so orders him to leave the planet. Superman refuses, something Diana doesn’t recommend.
And soon learns the hard way not to defy Zeus.
As does everyone else.
So Supes leaves.
Is it any good?
It’s an improvement on the last few issues, giving us gods worthy of the name, while also giving us superheroes who are heroic. Of course, we all know that Supes is off to deal with Darkseid, but it’s a different cliffhanger than we might have been expecting. A definite uptick
Disclaimer: Owing to the small fortune it would take to buy every single DC comic each week, this is not a guaranteed rundown of all the comics that feature Wonder Woman. If you know of any I’ve missed, email me or leave a comment below and I’ll cover them the following week