Writer: Marguerite Bennett / Artists: Marguerite Sauvage, Marcelo DiChiara / DC Comics
This issue of Bombshells United picks up with Wonder Woman fighting Clayface, a giant shape-changing clay/mud monster who is virtually invulnerable to Wonder Woman’s standard attacks. He’s the force behind the internment of the Japanese citizens that she’s in the greater Northwest to save. What his ultimate goal is, why he’s imprisoning Americans, isn’t clear at this point, but as the plot progresses we begin to see hints of what this power can do.
This time around Bombshells United is split into two parts, with Sauvage doing the art for the first half and DiChiara for the second. This makes for a stark contrast in artistic styles with Sauvage sticking with her soft, 40’s style pinup work.
DiChiara goes with a more modern, indie aesthetic, emphasizing black lines and open space in his panels. Both are talented in their own way, but personally, given the setting and theme, I think Sauvage’s work is more on point.
Bennett’s story ties the two parts together, but there was definitely a moment when I re-read the first few pages of part 4, to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Overall, the plot is very straight-ahead, perfectly targeted for the mainstream teen rating on the cover. Wonder Woman comes off as a young incarnation of the weary warrior we sometimes see now, with Cassie and Donna acting as her young sidekicks. They’re spunky and loud while remaining slender and femme. Younger than them are the Japanese twins Yuri and Yuki, whom I only know are Japanese because I’m constantly told they are. All of the characters are the same shade of pale beige, only Dawnstar, the cosmic being/Native American, has any tan to her tone. And even that is only in contrast.
Speaking of Dawnstar, we are once again treated to a few pages of her philosophizing about her state as an alien and “native” and emphasizing that we are all in this together. It is all quite pretty, if non-controversially liberal, but it slows down the book right when it could use a kick forward. Further, as she continues to not be present when the fighting starts, Dawnstar is starting to seem like an excuse to put a “native” in the comic and have her say faux-deep mystical magical things — she isn’t a real member of the Bombshells team.
By the end of the issue the action does pick back up and we whisked off to another fight. But really, by the time I got there, I was done. There are some fun things going on in this comic — it is all women and there’s a strong possibility of some lesbian romance — but it is all just a bit too packaged for my taste, and that package doesn’t include any meaningful racial/ethnic inclusivity or variety in the characters. If you’re in the market for some skin-deep diversity, this may be for you, but for me, I’ll go elsewhere.