This issue collects the second half of the “Battle of Britain” from Digital Firsts 34, 35, and 36. Last time we saw Mera, Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Stargirl all convening in London as it was overrun with creepy crawlers from the Tenebrae and the depths of the ocean, including the horrifically-tentacled Kraken, sent by King Nereus, who is awesomely rendered in the first third of the book by Laura Braga.
This book seems to have gone through a rough patch, but it’s come out the other side rather gloriously with this recent arc. We continue the epic battle for London with all Bombshells on call (even Batwoman finally makes it to this brawl, though she still seems a bit “off”). Nygma is also featured here (still hanging onto the Baroness’ coattails. He’s not really in character as the Riddler in this book, but he’s still an interesting choice for one of the Tenebrae lackeys and I’m glad Marguerite Bennett hasn’t dropped him.
Mera gets to shine in the first third of the book as she single-handedly takes on the Kraken while the others are distracted with the Nightsisters and the other Tenebrae threatening the city. As the tide begins to turn in the Bombshells’ favor, though, Tenebrus the Binder calls up The Titan. The Titan doesn’t strike me as posing much more of a threat than the Kraken and all the creepy things they were fighting before–and perhaps that has to do with his rather banal shadow-form. He’s just not that scary looking (kinda like early Venom but without all the goo [yeah, I just made a Marvel reference–sue me]).
Laura Braga and Mirka Andolfo share art duties again on this book. Because this story is heavily action-based, the disparity between the way Andolfo draws the characters with a heavy animé influence and Braga’s more traditional American comic-book style is mitigated, though Andolfo’s action sequences leave a little to be desired, I fear. When The Titan is supposed to look his more ferocious and devastating, he just feels weak; the angles aren’t dynamic, and in one particular sequence in which he grows a bunch of arms, it’s hard to even tell that’s what’s happening. Tracking the motion through Andolfo’s frames doesn’t always make the business clear enough, which is too bad because there are some cool things that happen in the middle of the book that just don’t feel rendered well.
On the other hand, Braga’s renderings are wonderful and it’s worth calling out that she returns to that stylized patina-aged fairytale motif she adopted early on for telling Supergirl and Stargirl’s story, which adds a nice visual contrast to the regular comic style.
Lastly, this is a book in which Major Character Death occurs!
Even though this book is often melodramatic and can be rather loose with its plot logic (in keeping with the spirit of those 1940s pulp comics), there is definitely an emotional layer to the storytelling that goes deeper. This particular issue is a great example of a healthy meld of silly giant monster attacks and bittersweet camaraderie.
Three Things I Love about This Issue
- As previously mentioned: the Kraken! Big splashy action against a giant sea monster? Sign me up!
- Lara Braga’s art is a standout in this issue, as previously noted. Braga does the front third and the back third of the issue, with Andolfo in between, and this gives the overall book a nice sense of visual continuity.
- Bombshells isn’t shirking from killing off major characters–I’m surprised, but also pleased that Bennett is taking risks and upping the stakes for the Bombshells women. Didn’t see this coming, and since this has been a somewhat predictable title so far, that really made me happy (even as it made me sad).
Three Things I Don’t Love about This Issue (Two of them Sartorial)
- The big scary “Titan” that serves as the villain for the big final confrontation isn’t very interesting design-wise. Just kind of a blah black blob like a 30-story tall Tenebrae. The Kraken was definitely more interesting,
- Sartorial #1: Mera’s weird platform wedges are just distracting.
- Sartorial #2: If they don’t put Steve Trevor in real clothes in the next story arc, I’m going to throw this book across the room.
- You want to see an exciting, well-choreographed fight featuring Mera (and her rather distracting footwear).
- You need a high stakes battle finale! With bonus major character death!
Bombshells has been on a roll and this London finale was a great conclusion to a 6-part arc that finally brought all of our Bombshells girls together (well, maybe not all, but nearly all). Even Batwoman returns for a small role in this mostly battle-focused issue where all the girls’ superpowers are highlighted and both Mera and Stargirl demonstrate courage above and beyond!