Hey folks! Thanks for stopping-by…
I LOVE comic books; always have, always will. Thanks to JK Woodward, I made a comic-book cameo-appearance in Star Trek: The City on the Edge of Forever; (I’m the good-looking, hat-wearing hobo, in issue 5). All of that aside, though, (in-addition to my Star Trek fixes), I eagerly-awaited two series, this year; the highly-anticipated The Six Million Dollar Man: Season Six, by James Kuhoric, and it’s spinoff The Bionic Woman: Season Four, by Brandon Jerwa. Unlike Kevin Smith’s The Bionic Man (which I loved, but – I think, went downhill, fast, after Some Assembly Required ended), or – Dynamite’s ridiculous spinoff-farces, The Bionic Woman, and The Bionic Man VS. The Bionic Woman, these comics weren’t meant to be reboots of those beloved TV classics, but – continuations of them; as they both pick-up where they left-off, after their cancellations in 1976. Being a fan of both shows, (since I was 8 years old), you can imagine how excited I was to hear that they were getting a grand relaunch. Indeed, SMDMS6 was talked about for months, before its March 12, 2014 release. And, despite some early glitches in the story, inconsistent/bungled art by Juan Ramirez, and a heavy-slashing in the number of issues (we got 6 out of the original 18), James gave us everything we’d been hoping for. In fact, I picked SMDMS6 as ‘Best Non-Trek Comic’ for 2014. It’s my opinion, that SMDMS6 missed the mark in the art department, (whether it was a communication lapse, or – an unfamiliarity with the show, I don’t know); either-way, the fans didn’t get what we were expecting and overall-interest took an immediate nosedive, despite James’ best efforts.
As for The Bionic Woman: Season Four, well…I had a gut feeling it was going to disappoint [me], as soon as I saw the first-issue cover, by Sean Chen and Ivan Nunes. First-off, Jaime Sommers’ likeness isn’t even close! When I first saw the cover, I thought it was Cheryl Tiegs! Nevertheless, I had zero-desire to read this series. (Now, I gotta hand it to Alex Ross, who nailed it with his unbelievably-accurate SMDMS6 covers! I couldn’t wait to read that series!) Second, Issue 1 has Jaime being chased by several fembots and a bunch of gun-wielding baddies, in what looks like a large industrial complex, or – city; but the main story has no bearing on what’s going-down on the cover. I was so turned-off by this cover-art, that I wasn’t going to read the series, at all; (indeed, it was James Kuhoric who asked me to give it a chance…so, I did). I will confess, I bought the digital issues, only; I have no intention of getting the print versions, though.
It’s my habit to read the credits, now, (since, I’ve started writing reviews), so another red flag went up when I saw David T. Cabrera was doing the art for this series. (He did the art for the last issue of SMDMS6, and I didn’t care for his work, there, either.) Look, I don’t want to criticize anyone; but – the art speaks for itself: the likenesses of the main characters are horrible; plus, the detail and tone of the series is blah. Take the opening-page of Issue 1: I liked the surgery and bionic schematics, it’s right-on-cue…until the last panel; Jaime looks like she’s had her mugshot taken, where she’s supposed to be smiling and happy, (not-to-mention, again – she looks nothing like Lindsay Wagner/Jaime Sommers). You’ve got to make these characters look like the actors who portrayed them! Who’s idea was it to have her wearing dark shades at the beginning of this mission? I tried to find an image of Jaime wearing sunglasses and I couldn’t find a single one. It just wasn’t in-character, to me. I’m going to say this and just get it out of the way: if I can’t see the character(s) on the page, I’m not going to care how good the story is. That’s just a fact. I never-once saw Jaime Sommers in this series; (or – in the SMDMS6, for that matter). I did try, however, to give it a chance…
But, it got worse… Rudy Wells looked ridiculous in his calf-length, brown lab-coat and his likeness to Martin E. Brooks was awful. Oscar’s likeness wasn’t much better, and – what’s with the blue-tinted glasses? (The same goes for Agnes, the red-haired freckled girl at OSI; she reminded me of Velma Dinkley, from Scooby-Doo!) The blue-tinting looked idiotic, to me; (I kept expecting to see a fish swim by). Chris Williams (another regular) wasn’t captured in a good way, either. Another absurdity, was the interior of Rudy’s mobile lab: ‘Taurus.’ Have you been in a semi-trailer? There is no way you could fit all of Rudy’s lab equipment, computers, diagnostic-table, etc. in there, and – still have the floor-space for everything-else, as it’s depicted here. One more gripe, everything was so drab and monotone; did Sandra Molina have no other colors, besides tan, brown and gray for the interiors? I was in no-way impressed by the art department’s efforts; in fact, I’m pretty bummed-out by the final results. Dynamite hypes these series up, doesn’t deliver a decent product, then – it wonders why the interest wanes and the sales slump… I mean, come on, as I said: you lost me with the first cover! I’d be curious to see how Joe Corroney or Tony Shasteen would’ve handled the art.
Unlike James Kuhoric’s exciting SMDMS6 story, Brandon Jerwa lost me from the get-go, as right-off-the-bat, he has Chris Williams blow somebody’s brains out in front of Jaime; and – apparently, she’s good with that?? Not! Part of the appeal of those TV shows, was the fact that we didn’t see any blood and gore; there weren’t any violent killings, to leave kids with nightmares. Here, it was a major turn-off, right-away. Then, within just a couple of pages, an entire family is left for dead, as the main villain kidnaps Jaime for his diabolical plans. There were plenty of gaffes, as well: having Jaime hanging from a helicopter by her ankle, while holding a satellite?? Really? I don’t care how-bionicshe is, that kind of stress on her body would’ve ripped her limbs off. In issue 3, Morales blows-up an entire section of neighborhood, to punish Jaime for not going-along with his plan. You’ve got to be kidding, right!! You’re confined in a domed-satellite, in space! Wouldn’t those kinds of explosions cause some serious frikkin’ damage to it; possibly breaking the dome and exposing everyone to a very-nasty death in vacuum? This isn’t Star Trek, where shields would keep everyone safe. And, I have a question: how did they all manage to get up to this satellite, to begin with? I didn’t get where all of these robot people came from, either. Brandon Jerwa never tells us who they are, who they’re affiliated with, or – where they came from; only that they’re trying to escape and need Jaime’s help. But, the main problem I had with this story, though, was Jaime, herself; she just didn’t ring-true, for me. I couldn’t hear her ‘voice,’ as-it-were. In the TV series, Lindsay Wagner portrayed Jaime as someone, who despite her bionics, was still vulnerable and very feminine; she was always afraid of losing her humanity to the bionics, ya know. In Jerwa’s series, however, I got the feeling that Jaime was just-rarin’ to kick someone’s ass, at every turn. Then, at the end, that whole-scene with Jaime, Chris and Steve seemed off-kilter, to me, as well; especially, as James Kuhoric had just reunited our favorite bionic couple in such a great way, in SMDMS6! Their last scene together ended with a romantic kiss, for crying out loud!! Was there no communication; no kind of continuity? Her dissing Steve in this way, in this series, left me confused.
I have never written a review where I’ve had to be negative, and I hate that this is my first; but – I am completely disappointed by what we’ve been given. The Bionic Woman: Season Four never came close to making me feel nostalgic; the story was all over the place and too many threads left me with unanswered questions. As for the art, well… I’ve had my say. Bottom-line: if I had to recommend this series, I wouldn’t. Shame on you, Dynamite.
That’s it for me… Feel-free to bash me, now. I can take it!