DC Comics Bombshells, the digital-first series with retro versions of DC heroines, has established that women are the "headliner heroes" in their alternate Earth. Now, writer Marguerite Bennett is bringing the gals together for an action-packed battle agains Nazi forces in a storyline titled "Battle for Britain" — uniting them for a Bombshells version of the Justice League.
And although the title has a markedly fun (and sometimes humorous) bent, Bennett warns that at the end of "Battle of Britain," readers will see the more serious "consequences" of World War II played out even within the Bombshells world.
"Battle of Britain" starts in the print comic book with April 13's issue #11, and began in the digital version with chapter #31, featuring the art of Mirko Andolfo. Released today, chapter #33 will see the heroines get one step closer to success (or tragedy) by combining the might of Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batwoman, Stargirl and more in their fight against the undead army of Tenebrus.
Newsarama talked to Bennett about the comic's turn toward a team-up, the hints of potential doom at the end of DC Comics Bombshells #12, and what readers can expect when DC Comics Bombshells #13 returns to the homefront.
Newsarama: Marguerite, now that you're getting all the girls together, has the focus of the title shifted, being less about introducing the characters of this world, and more about building it out and telling stories within it?
Marguerite Bennett: Yes, definitely, definitely. With our very first arc, everyone was so scattered. It was such a delight to get to an event with all the characters. Before, we were jumping around from character to character, and each heroine occupied a different geographic location or theater during the war. And each of them also embodied a genre that was definitive for the art and media of the era. So, you know, with Batwoman we had her as this pulpy, like, news radio adventure serial. And with Katana, we had her in, like, this spooky horror movie. And with Supergirl, we had her in sort of a propaganda promo.
So we were trying to flesh out the entire feel of this world. It's an alternative World War II, as opposed to playing it straight, because the inclusion of these characters meant that it could never have been the same as ours. And so it was giving these people a sort of grounding in how it functions, and how strong magic worked within it and the roles that women had in different cultures and countries.
Now that we've got that all established, we're starting to grow the characters through their emotional arcs, getting them involved in the war, and showing their friendships and bonds.
Nrama: What's the event that's bringing them all together? And this is for a continuing story in the next couple issues, right?
Bennett: They've come together for the Battle of Britain, which is issues #11 and #12. It turns into this massive, explosive arc that brings everyone together into our very first Justice League.
Nrama: But this is a very different Battle of Britain. It's not just Nazi war planes.
Bennett: It's a Nazi force, but we're leaning hard into the Nazi occultism. So there's a villain called the Tenebrus that they're dealing with as part of the Nazi force.
Nrama: Can new readers pick this up with issue #11, or in the online comics with chapter 31, and understand what's going on?
Bennett: Yeah. We make it very clear who everyone is, what their power sets are, what their stakes are in the battle — it's a story that's just super action-packed and explosive and fun and dire, and it's just a really crazy payoff at the end of the arc.
Nrama: How many characters have you introduced now? Quite a few.
Bennett: Oh yeah, I've lost count. Because you know, originally, we were working with the ones that began with Ant Lucia's wonderful designs — you know, the ones that have been made into the statues and the ones that were part of the Bombshell variant covers, first in August 2014 and again, I believe, in August 2015. And then we sort of branched out from there.
When we began, it was taking these existing designs and engineering their backstories and their personalities, and how could they fit into this world? Because originally, they were these gorgeous images and collectibles, but there wasn't necessarily a story that was going to surround them. And so it was trying to figure out how to take the information that was given through the art to create characters that could function as warriors or as healers.
And then, the characters who weren't originally part of those designs, other artists on the book have done designs for them. We had a bit more freedom.
And we've got more characters who do have sketches and variant covers who I'm keeping for future arcs.
Nrama: You hinted about a "crazy payoff" at the end of this story arc. Is that going to take the book to the next stage and can you describe at all the payoff and what's coming next?
Bennett: Bombshells is a very action-packed and adventurous comic. When we're dealing with something as intense as World War II and overlapping into the historical base of the war, it was always something tricky — how do you make an action story out of this when it had such brutal, real-world consequences. So in fictionalizing it and creating this alternate version, we've been able to make it an accessible and fun comic. But we don't want to lose track, eventually, of the consequences that still occur within this era and within this story.
So this is the place where we're dealing with these consequences.
Nrama: "Consequences" sounds like you're hinting at a death. But I assume you at least mean something bad might happen at the end of this arc?
Bennett: Something bad might happen.
Nrama: Do you know yet what the next storyline is going to be?
Bennett: Yes. We had our first six issues, which introduced everyone to the world. And then issue #7 began our Batgirls interlude, which took us back to the home front and introduced us to a bunch of original characters who weren't part of the first concept designs that were released.
After that, everyone began to interact, leading up into the "Battle of Britain."
So our issue #13 is actually going to be a return to the home front and a return to Batgirls. And you're going to see some new faces and some familiar faces. And it's going to be a one-shot with 30 pages of art by Mirka Andolfo. And it's very sweet and very exciting, and I hope everyone enjoys it.