Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Bionic Woman #1

In this second part of my “Two Issues/Last Chance" feature, we’re going to take a look at the first two issues of Dynamite Entertainment’s Bionic Woman series. I’ve written on this blog about how much I enjoy Kevin Smith’s Bionic Man series, also from Dynamite. Bionic Man is fast paced with witty writing and lots of fun nods to the original series. In Bionic Woman 1 we see what appears to be a female agent and a spy she’s trying to both protect and get information from, both on the run from other agents who supposedly want them both dead, or something.

While running, the female agent starts asking questions about Jaime Sommers aka the Bionic Woman. It’s here that we get a sort of running commentary about the history of the Bionic Woman, how she quit the OSI and went rogue, as well as finding out about a group of criminals who are kidnapping people who were once part of the OSI’s “six million program” and stealing and selling their bionic parts. This often has the side effect of leaving them dead. Issue one leaves off with a cliffhanger as a bullet is making it’s way towards Jamie’s head.

In issue 2, Jaime effectively avoids assassination and is captured by the group kidnappers who are harvesting bionic parts off their victims. Jaime narrowly escapes her captors and by the end of the second issue, she’s on her way to save a young boy with bionics who is soon to be harvested. The problem with the Bionic Woman series is that it feels so separate from that of the Bionic Man series. It would seem that the goal is to get the same audience reading Bionic Man to read Bionic Woman. Especially given that Jaime Sommers debuts in Bionic Man as the love of Steve Austin’s life. But as Bionic Woman begins, Sommers transformation from Steve’s fiancée to bionic super spy for the OSI who is no longer a part of Steve’s life (with extreme prejudice, I might add) to rogue agent on the run from her former employers and various bad guys is much too rushed and completely detached from it‘s sister series.  That's not to say that the character shouldn't have agency.  She should.  But her characterization here is too generic and isn‘t intriguing enough to stand on it‘s own without a stronger narrative connection to Bionic Man and the world the characters inhabit.

Another problem is the dialogue. This is pretty bad dialogue. We don’t really find out anything about Jaime that makes her remotely sympathetic or that makes us care about her in the slightest. She has a gal pal named Nora who is more interesting than Jamie. Jaime just runs around scowling. Her one brief quiet moment where she’s having lunch with Nora ends before we can learn anything about Jaime. I’m all for a little mystery surrounding the character but at least give us some characterization along with that mystery. She comes off more as a “Terminator” than as a woman whose life is changed by the addition of bionic limbs. Where Steve Austin is similar to his television counterpart, Jaime Sommers is nothing like hers. I thought this problem would be something unique to the first issue, but in issue 2 we just get more of the same.

Dynamite’s Jaime Sommers isn’t nearly as interesting or as engaging as the woman that Lindsey Wagner gave us. She’s not even as interesting as Michelle Ryan’s version of the character in the 2007 remake. Yes, there is action in this comic but it‘s cold action. There is no characterization, no vulnerability. The dialogue is forced and silly. The art by Leno Carvalho is sub par. Carvalho suffers from “same face” to the point where you can only tell the characters apart by their anatomy and the color of their hair.

The covers are even worse. They are terribly unimaginative and boring. Issue 2 has Jaime on a motorcycle even though we never see any sign of Jaime riding a motorcycle. I’m a fan of the original TV shows and after enjoying the Bionic Man comic, I was very excited to read these new adventures of Jaime Sommers. Sadly I was disappointed by what I saw in issues one and two. So, unfortunately, I won’t be buying issue 3 of the lifeless, poorly written and unimaginative Bionic Woman.

No comments:

Post a Comment