Once upon a time, I was a huge fan of DC comics. I read anything and everything pertaining to Batman, Batgirl, Oracle, Robin, Black Canary, Zatanna, and a handful of other characters. Oddly enough, though, I had a very hard time connecting with Wonder Woman. Strange, considering that she is one of DC‘s few explicitly, openly polytheist characters — and a Hellenic Pagan, to boot, just like me. I found the occasional one-shot or miniseries that I enjoyed, and the Golden Age comics were awesome, but for the most part, the mainstream Wonder Woman series left me cold.
Sadly, that remains the case even today. I have to get my Wonder Woman fix with the oddball stories, the Elseworlds and what might have been tales. Happily, the new, digital-first series Bombshells fits the bill.
Imagine a world in which most (nearly all, actually) of the super-powered heroes are actually heroines. They are all women. And they arrive on the scene just in time to join the boys on the frontlines of World War II. Wonder Woman, Batwoman, Zatanna, Catwoman, Supergirl, Stargirl, Mera — all present and ready to fight the good fight; some for philosophical reasons, some for love, some for nationalism, some for financial gain, some out of fear, some out of boredom.
Wonder Woman makes a grand entrance in the very first issue, taking out Allied and Axis warplanes alike. The rain of debris and bombs from their constant battles in the skies over Paradise Island have caused numerous casualties and immense damage to her home. When Diana rescues the shell shocked Steve Trevor, she learns of the nature of the war tearing apart the outside world and vows to aid him in defeating the Axis Powers. Even after months of fighting at his side, though, she continues to see that world through Amazonian eyes. Consider the following exchange from issue twelve:
Diana: You enjoy my new armor? Compliments of Amanda [Waller], your high priestess of war, and it’s in the fashion of the Goddesses of your people.
Steve: Goddesses, Princess?
Diana: The paintings upon the steel chariots your warriors fly. The Goddesses of love and war, who protect them as they fly, or harken them home.
Diana even speaks of the leader of the United States as a Queen; she simply does not understand the concept of a male elected official. A woman raised in an all-female society — raised as a polytheist — sees Goddesses and women of power everywhere. For her, the world is an enchanted, numinous place; the paintings on the noses of those airplanes are no soulless things, but icons of true Powers which work in the world, and have an interest in, and concern for, fragile little mortals.
And that is wonderful. The positive portrayal of a polytheism by a mainstream publisher is a refreshing change of pace.
As of this writing, Bombshells stands at twenty issues, with more on the way. Issues can be purchased through Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and iTunes. For those without access to an ereader, the first print collection will be released in March of 2016. I highly recommend it to anyone in search of an entertaining, thoughtful, polytheism-positive story.