Bionic Review: Dynamite Comic’s The Bionic Woman (2012)
I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus on the Bionic Reviews, but I’m back now and I have one to give you today and another to throw out end of this week or beginning of next. So, let’s get started…
In 2011, Dynamite Comics started up a new Bionic Man comic featuring a story taken from an unproduced Kevin Smith movie script. The comic did well and eventually Dynamite decided to spin off the character of Jaime Sommers into her own comic, The Bionic Woman.
This comic is written by Paul Tobin and drawn first by Leno Carvalho and then followed in committee by Juan Ramirez and Daniel Leister. As of this moment, it looks like issue 10 will be the final issue. The Six Million Dollar Man Season Six has launched, the original Bionic Man title is done and so I assume this title is finished as well. If SMDM Season Six does well, I assume we are going to see a The Bionic Woman Season 4.
Essential Plot: The Bionic Woman doesn’t start directly after Sommers’ appearance in The Bionic Man. Issue #1 jumps about 5 years into the future. Jaime is already bionic. Her accident happened many years ago. Jaime was an OSI operative and something happened that caused her to quit OSI and essentially “go rogue”. This same split happened with her and Austin with whom she previously had a relationship, but doesn’t anymore. The first issue picks up with Jaime on the run from an organization that is tracking and killing people with any sort of bionic enhancement. Most of these issues involve information gathering and Jaime tracking down man after man in order to discover who this shadowy organization is that is trying to kill her and take her bionics. Throughout the story she is accompanied by a friend named Nora and we get several cameos by Steve Austin.
Characters: This particular Jaime Sommers is characterized as a very accomplished covert agent, highly trained in hand-to-hand combat and very proficient in the use of her bionics. She is also very proactive in her search for the people trying to kill her. This is very different from the TV show and I have to say, I like the difference. It keeps the story moving forward and gives us lots of action on the way. The Nora character that tags along is sort of annoying. Jaime is constantly having to make sure she doesn’t die.
Story: I liked the idea of a shadowy group killing and stealing bionic implants for sale on the black market. I was not in love with the Nora character tagging along nor was I in love with the completely unnecessary cameos by Steve Austin. They seemed to serve no purpose. But the overall story is pretty solid, even if a lot of the page to page dialogue is groan inducing.
Differences from the TV show: Jaime is given full bionic implants in both legs and the right arm. She has the bionic ear, like in the TV show. It is also implied that Jaime may also have bionic eyes, which were not a part of the TV show. Another very cool enhancement that this Jaime has that not even Austin gets is the ability to interface wirelessly with computers. It’s an ability that may have been borrowed from the TV show, Jake 2.0, which was a spiritual grandchild of the original Six Million Dollar Man (Lee Majors even made an appearance).
Art: Unfortunately, the art is all over the place. Carvalho’s art is not great (see page above). It looks weird and doesn’t show action well. It reminds me of early Rob Liefeld. There’s a lot of line work that can be seen. When Ramirez takes over the issue, I’m very happy. Then, there’s a completely random change in issue #5 when Daniel Leister does the art with Kristy Swam on colors. Leister and Swam literally do their own thing regardless of what came before. Leister draws everything a lot softer and Swam adds softer colors to the palate and completely changes characters’ hair colors for no reason. It’s jarring to look at. Then everything reverts back to normal in issue #6. Weird. Oh, and apparently, Steve Austin only has the right arm bionic when he cameos in this title as opposed to having BOTH arms bionic in his own title (see below panel). GET IT TOGETHER, GUYS.
Overall: The story arc is fairly strong and I like the characterizations. Much of my problem begins with the art. Like I said, Carvalho’s art starts off VERY rough, but then Ramirez’s art is a breath of fresh air, even if it’s not my favorite either. Also, like I said, the dialogue in many spots is not very good. We get a lot of Jaime trying to say things that sound like awesome one-liners after a kill, but they come off weird. I’m not sure why. Maybe the script just needed another draft, but I found myself several times rolling my eyes thinking about the writer pumping his fist in the air thinking he’s writing bad ass one liners. At the end of the day, this comic is a serviceable modern reboot of The Bionic Woman. However, I am not sad about its demise and the possibility of a Bionic Woman Season 4 comic.