Or – “When They Say ‘Mature Readers,’ They Ain’t Just Whistlin’ Dixie.”

When I began reading comics, during the late Pleistocene Era 1970’s, creators were in the midst of one of the periodic spasms of Adult Comics, notably in the form of Heavy Metal, which embraced more sophisticated story-telling, as well as overt sexuality, violence and some stuff that I’m pretty sure they still don’t have a word for.  30 years later, mainstream comics are once again embracing sanitized violence and fluidless off-panel sex (though the subject matter has, admittedly, gotten a bit more grown-up.)

But where does a comic with a foul-mouthed, sociopathic, nymphomaniacal, murderous, super-powered lunatic protagonist fit in?

BOMB QUEEN VII #2
Writer: Jimmie Robinson
Artist: Jimmie Robinson
Colorist: Paul Little
Editor: Jade Dodge
Publisher: Image Comics (Shadowline)
Cover Price: #3.50

Previously in Bomb Queen:  The Four Queens were formidable super-villains individually, but together they were able to completely take over New Port City and turn it into their personal playground.  Being evil, each of the Queens eventually turned on their partners, and it was the shrewd and wicked Bomb Queen who survived the carnage.  Turning New Port City into a haven for criminals and declaring the city a ‘Hero-Free Zone.’  With no rules and no oversight, the Queen was free to engage her appetities for sex, murder and evilness.  Eventually, though, all good things must come to an end, and Bomb Queen had to give up her horrifying lifestyle.  Uploading her consciousness to the intarwebz, B.Q. hoped to return after all the super-dupers had died, giving her free reign to take over the world.  Upon awakening, though, things have not gone the way she planned…

RUDE, CRASS AND SHOWING HER @$$…

When Bomb Queen debuted four or five years ago, I bought her first miniseries and found it to be a fun anti-establishment (anti-EVERYTHING, really) story with an entertainingly adolescent sense of humor and no restraint.  As with anything shocking, though, there’s a need to escalate in order to get back to the point you started at, and diminishing returns made the book a little less fun.  This issue opens with a digital Bomb Queen gorgeously rendered in the glowy blue grids that mean we’re in cyberspace, and reminding me of what was fun about the book in those early issues.  The Queen herself is as brilliant as she is deviant, and when she discovers that prisoners are no longer physically incarcerated, but actually uploaded to keep them out of trouble, she gets an ugly idea. Robinson plays with little digital sidebars (kind of like the last volume of Legion of Super-Heroes, only filled with more disturbing info) and the use of the computer coloring is pretty awesome, especially when the main character’s metal gauntlets and boots are semi-transparent light effects, Tron-style.  The issue takes great delight in implied nudity and not-even-subtle poses for the porn-star-proportioned main character, and the specific method she uses to turn herself into a computer virus is as snort-worthy as it is crude.

…AND THEN, IT GOT WORSE.

Of course, anyone familiar with superhero tropes knows that these guys never die, and so we are given the newest form of Shadowline’s flagship hero, Shadowhawk, who survives as a religion, of sorts.  The hero can flit from body to body, possessing his faithful and turning them into Shadowhawk for a moment, which I have to admit is kind of ingenious.  Of course, things take a turn for the worst when Bomb Queen puts her plan into motion.  The mixed emotions that come from her “Braveheart” speech in the middle of the issue (a tour-de-force performance from the writer and his character, I have to say) are overwhelmed when the cyber-criminals escape back into the real world.  We see graphic murders, attempted rapes, on-panel maiming, and a very disturbing sequence where a young girl comes to her father with a broken doll, only for daddy to be possessed and…  Gyah.  The issue turns into torture porn and goes straight for the groin, and even a well-drawn virtual battle between hero and villain overcomes the chill that goes down my spine.  It’s really the same reaction that I had to the issues of ‘Crossed’ that I’ve read, and it’s a reaction that makes it difficult to actually rate the rest of the book…

THE VERDICT:  BEYOND MY TOLERANCE, BUT NOT BAD…

The book is very well-drawn, though, and the main character is written as sharp as a tack, her dialogue and strategy fitting the concept of a brilliant-tactician-with-no-scruples-and-nothing-to-lose.  Bomb Queen’s near-nudity throughout the issue is handled better than some similar comic takes, as her fight with Shadowhawk has realistic ‘breasts-falling-out-of-tiny-scraps-of-fabric” consequences.  Jimmie Robinson creates an interesting setup with this issue, though the future world mostly escapes the “It’s SOO 1999″ problem that tales dealing with virtual reality often do, but I’m uncomfortable with the casual way that horrible things are portrayed, and the word rape appears more than a dozen times in casual conversation throughout the issue.  Bomb Queen VII #2 has an interesting concept, and a rare example of a villain who still gets to be hardcore as the protagonist of the story, but the levels of squick, near-porn and the old ultra-violence are a bit high for me, earning the book 2.5 out of 5 stars overall.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  Can a villain successfully maintain their edge if they’re played as the protagonist?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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