Current Reviews


Sunday Slugfest - Bomb Queen II: Queen of Hearts #1 and #2

Posted: Sunday, October 1, 2006
By: Keith Dallas

Writer/Artist/Creator: Jimmie Robinson

Publisher: Image Comics

EDITOR’S NOTE: The first issue of Bomb Queen II will debut later this month.

Average Rating:

Michael Aronson:
Ariel Carmona Jr.:
Michael Deeley:
Caryn A. Tate:

Michael Aronson

. . . wait, what?

If a comic features a cover with a woman whose breasts separately are each bigger than her face, you can get a pretty good idea of what the interiors are going to focus on. While Bomb Queen features enough sexual innuendo to make Chuck Austen jealous, it’s surprisingly less gratuitous than the cover would suggest, and the main character doesn’t really suffer from sexual exploitation. While that’s all fine and dandy, a good story is still nowhere to be found.

I’m just not quite grabbing the logic of Bomb Queen’s world. She’s the ruler of her city, she kills bad guys, she kills good guys, she kills innocents, the government wants to kill her, the government leaves her alone, and the people love her. Hey Robinson, Bizarro called and wants his world back.

So amid this incredibly shaky foundation, the Bomb Queen has time to go around flirting with mysterious British men, inviting them over for sex and origin stories. This is, essentially, the main plot, which really leads me to question how this is a sequel series and what actually occurred in the preceding volume. I never feel like I’m missing anything in particular, but I feel like I’m not getting a full story.

The idea of a villainess who reigns without opposition in a city of her own is perfectly interesting in its own right, but these issues hardly take any time to explore that status quo. Why do the citizens of the city love her if their lives are always at risk? Are there any superheroes in her world that she’s had to fight off? Does she have any personal aspirations or goals other than getting laid?

The dialogue is serviceable, pretty bouncy but never very clever or inspired. It doesn’t help that all the characters are pretty much one-dimensional, especially her opponent, whose secret reveal really doesn’t make any sense – not even in the context of this quasi-Bizarro World. And I wish I knew what the point of Occularium was, other than a vague explanation of her powers that are vaguely explained and vaguely depicted.

The writing seems to be begging the reader to forgo any expectations about a credible plot, motivations or logic by flashing breasts on the page. Readers who want to like will probably force themselves to find something to enjoy, but those who won’t like it probably can read the double D warning signs on the cover.

Ariel Carmona Jr.

Plot: Unlike other cities which are protected by superheroes, Newport City is ruled by the female despot known as the Bomb Queen. Through intimidation tactics and violence, she’s erected a ruthless dictatorship, until her own lust threatens to topple her regime.

Comments: It’s funny; in the early and mid 90s, Image Comics came to be known as a comic book publisher of gimmicks, relying more on cheesecake and exaggerated visuals than on substance and quality storytelling.

They were condemned by some fans for their propensity for disproportionately drawn and skimpily clad female superheroes.

I guess what goes around…. In Bomb Queen II: Queen of Hearts, Jimmie Robinson appears not only to be acknowledging Image’s old reputation, but to be taking it to the next level. This is a shame because far from enhancing the comic, all the gratuitous nudity and excessive allusions to sex only serve to distract from a very clever story and a well thought out concept.

Granted, this is the kind of book which would garner the negative feedback from feminists, and it could be used as fodder by right wing ultra conservative moralists to attack the industry for its lack of merit, adverse effects on its readers, and prurient content, but underneath the overt sexual content, there’s much more than skin and sight gags. Robinson even admits to aiming for a statement about celebrity governments and how society loves it.

If this was indeed his goal, to inject some substance into the story and to acknowledge the superhero genre while at the same time satirizing its conventions, why numb it down with all the T&A shots? Some of it works, but some of it is just plain dumb. For example, every time bomb queen is having sex, we get a montage of phallic images and sexual metaphors instead of direct visuals of what’s going on in the bedroom. Wasn’t this sight gag already employed in one of the Naked Gun movies with similar dubious results?

I liked the character of the Bomb Queen; she is a tough, no-nonsense female who instead of becoming a victim in a male dominated world, lashes out and takes control of her own environment. Unfortunately, she chooses the wrong approach and ends up on the wrong side of the law. It’s also hard to take her seriously when she runs around wearing a thong.

The other “queens” are also a bit ridiculous; they are stock characters rendered all the more preposterous by running around half naked while employing their superpowers. I did enjoy the bit about the world’s dumbest super villains, but the double-cross was as predictable as Bomb Queen’s cup size.

Final word: I’m no prude, and I am fully aware that the “For Mature Readers” tag on the book’s cover gives the creative team license to pack as much sex and violence as they see fit, but if it interferes with the narrative, it can only be a distraction which I feel is the case here and the reason I have to dock Bomb Queen a whole bullet.

Michael Deeley

Bomb Queen is the explosive ruler of New Port City. She’s created an almost completely lawless zone on the eastern seaboard. Thousands of criminals have immigrated to the city, leading to a drop in crime nationwide. Bomb Queen rules the city through her unrestrained violence and entertains the masses with her shameless libido.

But can she fall in love?

The tone of these comics reminded me of Chuck Austen’s Worldwatch, the short-lived series about amoral superheroes. Both books have a casual attitude towards sex and nudity. Bomb Queen’s costume has pants so low you can see the Southern Pass. At least, we should. I think Jimmie Robinson needs to reexamine female anatomy.

Re-reading the story hints at a deeper philosophy behind Bomb Queen’s mayhem. She sees superheroes as part of a fascist establishment that controls people. She seems to see herself as a representative of the people and a villain. Bomb Queen may consider all law a form of oppression. She may be an anarchist rather than a traditional criminal. Queen takes great joy in everything she does without the remorse or loneliness typically found in similar characters. But there’s no time spent on self-reflection. This is a very action-driven comic.

I can’t help thinking Robinson could have gone even further with the content. He already has nudity, dismemberment, R-rated language. Why not include more random chaos; More violence in the background? This would add a frantic energy to the story that emphasizes the chaos of New Port City. The art already has the look of a cartoon. Why not go the next step and add some wacky, Milk & Cheese-style bloodletting?

I like the premise and the character, but I need to see more. More random violence. More scenes of the City’s “crime zones.” More villains acting with complete freedom. More about life for average citizens. I see great possibilities in a spin-off called “Quick Burning Muse: Life in New Port City.” The comic we have now is an amusing distraction. It’s light, it’s fun, but it has very little substance. Jimmie Robinson has the artistic and writing talent to keep making entertaining comics. And I’d like to see him expand and explore the ideas behind Bomb Queen. But for now, this isn’t a must-buy.

Caryn A. Tate:

Okay, satire is one thing, and I have no problem with it; but heavy-handed, hit-you-over-the-head parody, combined with all the worst stereotypes of superhero comics, is another thing altogether. While the writing is sometimes mildly funny in these two issues, it wasn’t able to make up for the rest of the banality that was displayed throughout the rest of these books.

The sexual innuendos are ridiculously trite and silly; they do not reach the status of
satire for me, because satire should be sharp-witted and fairly subtle to be effective. These scenes specifically are neither of these things, and are, frankly, pedestrian.

There are essentially only two aspects to these books that I enjoyed. The first were the action scenes, in which Bomb Queen fights the other members of their group. These were paced evenly and had a good amount of entertaining dialogue. The stereotypes were fairly effective here—the result was that these scenes were actually somewhat comical.

The second area of these comics that was enjoyable was definitely the best part of the issues altogether: the art. It is very fluid, effectively telling the story, such as it is, along with the script. In fact, it’s one of those rare instances where I can say that the art exceeds the storytelling ability of the writing. Additionally, the colors are vibrant and polished.

Hopefully Mr. Robinson will sharpen the bluntness of the comedy in the Bomb Queen comics; if that occurs, they would be a lot more appealing.

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