DC Comics Bombshells #26 came out this last week, the print version of the digital first comic based on the Bombshells merchandise line. It is a comic which started out on fire. The first twelve print issues were fantastic. But after that it seemed to lose its way. It has been a bit on the firing line for me recently, always about to be dropped.
It didn't help that Wonder Woman and Supergirl basically disappeared from the book after the climax in issue twleve. They were my two favorite characters, especially with their character arcs in the earlier books, and suddenly they were gone.
Luckily, writer Marguerite Bennett has decided to bring those two back into the throng. Diana and Kara are back. And nothing says that more than the Supergirl cover on this issue. Hurrah!
All that said, the current stories haven't grabbed me as much as the origin story did. I also think that Bennett is walking a fine line for me on the focus of the book. Initially, this was a character driven book which clearly had a political agenda as a foundation. At times recently this has felt more like an agenda driven book which has characters. And I'll tell you, for me historically, when the agenda overtakes the characters, the story tends to suffer.
The art continues to be a high point. In particular, Mirka Andolfo, who does the Supergirl pages, is a favorite of mine. And Adventures of Supergirl alum Carmen Carnero does very crisp pages here as well.
On to the book.
The opening of the book is really a recap/rundown of what all the characters have been doing recently. A ton of new characters have been added (I suppose to keep up with the new statues being made). We have been away from the core team for a bit.
So Bennett has Mary Marvel sing a song about all the characters. As the lyric discusses that character, the scene shifts and we get a little bit of catch up. There has been a lot of singing in this book.
I appreciated this as I had simply forgotten some of the plot lines which are still ongoing. Part of that probably reflects how I haven't been too invested recently.
The recap ends on an ominous note. We see that Lex Luthor and Catwoman are in his invisible plane and monitoring all the Bombshells we have been dropping in on. Selina is holding Kryptonite. This at least gives a story reason for the recap.
The back half of the book is a Supergirl solo story.
Since the death of her sister Stargirl, Supergirl has been emotionally suffering. She has barely been able to keep going on. In the company of Diana and Steve Trevor, Kara is sort of roused back to the living a bit. Kara decides she needs to head home to Russia.
I do like that Trevor is her companion. Steve has been very damaged in this book, suffering from PTSD and trying to live as well. On the train to Russia, Kara continues to wallow a bit in her pain. She wonders if all her introspection has been selfish.
Trevor decides that maybe the best remedy for Kara's sadness is to enjoy some decadence. There is a dinner dance on the train. Why not slip into this slinky black dress and take in the scene.
At the party, Trevor and Kara make their way to the dance floor. But before Steve can really show off his two left feet, Lex Luthor arrives to cut in.
I have been reading comics long enough to know that Luthor being here isn't a coincidence. What I like is that Kara knows it too. She knows Lex must want to use her. And she lets him know she is useless to him and on to his game.
I guess Supergirl's grief is presenting itself somatically as a loss of power.
But I have to say I truly love Kara in this interaction with Lex. As he tries to sweep her off her feet, she really lets him know that she is going to be immune to whatever mind games he is planning. She lays out all the different ways he might try to woo or manipulate her. He won't get his hooks into her regardless of spin, whether it is playing the poor country Russian girl or the grief she is suffering.
That is a pretty savvy for a teenage girl.
Still, Lex decides to up the ante. He does have an offer for her, a way to hunt 'monsters'.
He pulls out a small Kryptonite dagger and says she will need to use this on her 'true enemy'. The exposure to the Green K instantly weakens Kara. She gets a bloody nose and swoons a bit, crushing a clock that she stumbles into.
I guess her powers have kicked in??
This evidence of her powers attracts the attention of both German and Russian soldiers. Bombshells are a common enemy so the two war combatants join forces. Somehow (I can't quite tell from the art), Kara's fight with these two ignites a fire on the train.
In her mind she hears Lex's words. She will need to fight her greatest enemy and she wonders if her greatest enemy is herself.
I have to say that the Supergirl story elevated the issue for me. I honestly had no interest in the Hawkgirl/Vixen 'Transformers Beast War' storyline about robot animals. And I haven't really been pulled into the Raven arc either. So the bulk of this book being a story that has grabbed me was appreciated.
And I liked that Kara might be suffering but she isn't a fool. She basically beats Luthor at his own game, dancing with him while parrying any chance that he will be able to seduce or trick her into helping him. Tack on a decent cliffhanger and you have a fun book.
I also like Andolfo's work, no big surprise. The page layouts of the musical notes swirling around the panels implies their dancing nicely. And Kara looks great.