Today marked a new-beginning for another old-favorite TV show, with the debut of Brandon Jerwa’s The Bionic Woman: Season Four, from Dynamite Comics. With the release of James Kuhoric’s highly-anticipated, well-received The Six Million Dollar Man: Season Six, earlier this year, it was inevitable to see the launch of this comic-book series, as well. No, I did not look forward to this day; I saw the cover several-months ago, and I wasn’t impressed. I mean, at least Alex Ross’ SMDMSS covers ‘get it'; not-so, with BW, as Jaime Sommers resembles more-a-mashup of Cheryl’s Tiegs and Ladd and, Angela Bassett’s Tina Turner, than Lindsay Wagner. Alex Ross’ likenesses of Steve Austin (et al) are spot-on; plus his image of our old-foe, Maskatron, gripped the hearts of every fan in the world, as we plotted and strategized attacks of vengeance, in our mind’s-eyes! Bigfoot, Fembots, bionic action-shots…my God!
To me, today’s comic release did exactly what I dreaded: they’ve made Jaime Sommers a superhero; an action figure that kicks ass and takes names later. As I’ve commented elsewhere, Jaime Sommers is NOT Wonder Woman! Jaime is first, and-foremost, a human-being, a tennis pro and school teacher, a small-town girl, livin’ in a lonely world…and, who just-happens to be bionic. Jaime Sommers is beautiful, a natural beauty; she’s smart and funny, she doesn’t lose her cool on-a-whim, and she reasons her way out of difficult situations with style and poise, using her cybernetic enhancements, as a last resort. Despite her superhuman capabilities, Jaime is vulnerable, and she lives in constant fear that her bionics will cease to function, bring her terrible pain (or – death), and, more-still, will leave her less-than human. A large part of Jaime’s charm, is her frailty; her making us empathize with the way she handles her ‘handicap.’
In Issue 1 of The Bionic Woman, we open with the opening-theme from the show. I loved it, although it seems rushed; we go straight from the operating theater to a harsh-looking Bionic Woman Facebook profile picture/mug-shot. I did enjoy seeing the blue bionic-modules grids, representing her ear, arm and legs. The unconscious, helmeted-Jaime was nice, too; but a classroom scene, or – her with the birds on the beach, would’ve been great here.
Bam! We’re thrust into immediate action, as Jaime and Chris Williams take back a drilling platform from a band of Cuban pirates. I don’t think Jaime would approve of Chris shooting one of the pirates in the head, though. It was a good scene, bringing an iconic figure from BW front-and-center, from the very-start. Then, we’re witness to a shadowy meeting between two men, where intel on Jaime is being discussed. You know it isn’t going to bode-well, later.
Next, we’re in a lab, and Jaime is hooked-up to machines, her bionic limbs flayed-open as Dr. Wells works on upgrades. Who’s idea was it to have Rudy in a brown, calf-length, London Fog rain – I meant, lab coat? Honestly, it’s the little things that can ruin a story! Take note: Dr. Wells wears a white lab coat, always! That said, this scene is reminiscent of Jaime’s ‘Bionic Salon’ from Kenner, or – Steve Austin’s ‘Bionic Transport and Repair Station,’ where you could hook them up with hoses to diagnostics machines, and-such. If that was the intention here, you scored! However, a great moment was missed here, as Jaime could’ve been rendered in that just-as-iconic-as-Steve’s running suit; (especially, if the flaps in her blue pants would’ve been pulled up, like the action-figure’s did). The idea for a mobile bionics’ lab is terrific and plays just-fine for this time period, as-well-as, Oscar’s penchant for utilizing any money-saving strategies.
The rest of this story is pretty-predictable. You’ve got Oscar sending Jaime on an urgent mission to retrieve classified spy equipment, as no one else is available, (or – capable) of succeeding, Jaime goes off on her own, then gets the shaft by the villains of this episode, wherein – she’s left stranded, cutoff from OSI, unsure of where’s she’s at, or what to do… To be continued.
Some tips for the team: 1) Soften Jaime’s features and make her recognizable. She looks hard and angry in a lot of this issue. If I can’t ‘see’ Jaime, then Brandon Jerwa’s work is for naught. Likenesses are key to a comic-book’s success. 2) Don’t make Jaime a superhero; show us her vulnerabilities and play on them. In my opinion, what killed the previous Bionic Woman comic-series, from Dynamite, is that they tried to make her a female Rambo. 3) Do a better job with the covers! If there’s one place, where Jaime should look like Jaime Sommers, it’s the cover! 4) Get rid of Rudy’s brown lab coat, the blue-tinge in Oscar and Agnes’ glasses, (make them clear) and ditch Jaime’s designer sunglasses. And, finally… Make the rest of this series phenomenal!! You have the technology to create the best The Bionic Woman comic book on the planet! Use it.
‘Til, next-time, I’ll see ya ‘out there…’
Lt. Eric Cone