Writer: Marguerite Bennett / Artist: Marguerite Sauvage / DC Comics
DC Comics is starting a new arc of it’s all-women superhero squad, The Bombshells, so you know I had to come round and give it a look. Bombshells United continues to be written by Marguerite Bennett, whom I fell in love with back on A-Force. She’s back with Marguerite Sauvage on art and they are a great combination.
Set in 1943, 3 years after the end of the previous Bombshells run, we are introduced to the Wonder Woman, Diana, as she teams up with Donna Troy and Cassie Sandsmark (both of whom have at different points been Wonder Woman’s sidekicks/kid sisters) to fight the Japanese Internment started under Executive Order 9066. Following in the pattern of Bombshells, the heroes are re-writing history, fighting wrongs where-ever they find them.
After a fun train escape caper, Diana, Donna, and Cassie gather up in the Pacific Northwest with the freed Japanese Americans to try to pull together a plan. What follows is the slowest part of the comic, with an extended conversation about the wrongs of settler colonialism in America. Dawnstar enters to add her “I’m a descendant of Native Americans” perspective and the whole thing dips deeply into the parallel politics of the 1940s and today. All along there is a question hanging: If I could go back as a superhero and address atrocities, which would I pick? And why?
As an intro issue, the comic works hard to give the reader a peek at each character’s motivations and to explain the historical context that all of the action is based on. But even with all the exposition, the action moves along quickly with our heroes painting themselves into a corner, with only more extreme action to come as they try to save everyone. Everyone? We’ll see.
Sauvage’s art style if fantastically painterly, looking more like fine art illustrations of the 1940s than like modern comic books. It really does give a “throw back” feeling that is immersive. She also draws the women naturally and well, there’s plenty of hair and hugging and historically inspired clothing. It all looks completely different from other comics on the shelves right now, and that’s great.
Despite the slower talky parts in the middle, the book really gets off to a running start, ending with a cliffhanger that has me digging back through Wonder Woman’s other adversaries so I am in the know for the next issue. If women-led comics bursting with diverse women characters is your thing, pick this one up. It looks to be a hell of a ride.