Bomb Queen: Bombshell
by Jimmie Robinson (Image Comics, 2008)

It was with a certain grim resolve that I decided to plunge into yet another Bomb Queen collection from Jimmie Robinson and Image Comics to see what the anti-heroine of New Port City was up to this time. Once again, I was impressed with Robinson's overt cheesecake art and the clever ideas he put into play in a city ruled by fear and murder -- but once again he spoiled the brew with a sense of humor that just doesn't sit well in comics -- or, for that matter, any medium I can think of.

Sure, that wacky Bomb Queen is a spitfire, and she kills people without forethought or regret for the tiniest of slights. She dominates an entire city and lets those residents who don't cross her get away with murder -- literally -- as well as any crime that doesn't directly trouble her day.

When trouble -- often in the form of a misguided hero who wants to end her evil reign -- rears its head, she beats it down with a wicked smile, an endless supply of explosives and a supersuit that starts off as revealing and quickly becomes shredded and torn in ways the old Comics Code would never have condoned. Oh, that wacky, silly Bomb Queen!

But as I keep saying, the humor falls flat when it includes little nuances like a date-rape reality show on TV and a sexual lubricant designed for use with animals and children. I just can't think of any context where a fairly normal, well-adjusted person would find that sort of thing funny.

The various plot threads in Bombshell, the third collected volume to date, weave in a would-be assassin, a heroine teetering on the brink of the dark side, a teen clone, a nervous newsman, and lots and lots of gratuitous butts and boobs. The story is well drawn, with cunningly crafted dialogue and action.

With so much going for it, it's a shame I still can't recommend Bomb Queen to, well, anyone. Robinson -- and his editors at Image -- need to realize that some things just aren't funny no matter how you present them.

review by
Tom Knapp

24 May 2008

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