Bomb Queen Omnibust – Jimmie Robinson

Bomb Queen OmnibustThis is a magnificent hardback volume that collects the first three storylines and adds a ton of extras. The book is well presented with an attractive dust jacket concealing an embossed all black cover. The stitching is first rate with the book lying flat when open ensuring you can see what is happening in the centre without breaking the spine. The book is slightly taller than regular trades making the art pop even more.

There are dozens of pages of extras including a full concept gallery with insightful commentary about the whole design process. Lots of pin-ups from other artists. A who’s who of the four queens. Plus a lengthy interview with the creator. There are plenty of fake adverts too such as one for the Die Pod mocking Apple’s famous two colour adverts. And there is even a tongue in cheek board game mock-up. The whole book has a lavish feel with lots of pages of art inserted before the contents page and the famous yellow and black bomb symbol gracing the inner covers.

If you are going to start on Bomb Queen then is a great way to do it. This is everything a collector’s edition should be.

Thumbs Up!

Bomb Queen VII: The End of Hope – Jimmie Robinson

Bomb Queen 7This volume proves, as if there was any doubt, that Robinson has both imagination and talent – in spades. From the apocalyptic ending of the previous volume we jump forward 100 years to see a society of the future.

Part Matrix, part Demolition Man this world is a satire of our own information age. A cruel look at the way digital technology is undermining our values and rendering us shallow, petty, ignorant and lazy. It succeeds wonderfully from the speech patterns and vocabulary of the youth of tomorrow to the idea of librarian terrorists.

The art is top notch stuff and as we now have the age of instant information and the heads up display Robinson goes mad with his wonderfully intrusive graphics and info bursts. Would you like to know more?

This is a wordy book and the additional pop-ups do slow things down but the concepts being discussed carry you through. There is a cover breakdown and a selection of Robinson’s other books from his wide variety of genres.

Definitely a Thumbs Up!

Bomb Queen: Gang Bang – Jimmie Robinson

Bomb Queen Gang BangThis is a collection of the four Bomb Queen one-shots making it both convenient and handy.

In my opinion crossovers are at worst a cynical cash-in and at best a bad idea. There are a reasons why characters appear in separate books and separate universes. Never the twain shall meet.

Having said that, so many of the Image/ Shadowline characters intrude into the regular Bomb Queen book you are unfortunately getting used to it. There are four stories and the two written and drawn by Robinson are certainly the best culminating in an appearance by Sarah Palin and the Queen of England. Both of whom get off lightly considering Robinson’s wrecking ball wit.

Bomb Queen is more the Deus ex Machina or plot stick that drives the other characters, operating off-stage for most of the book. The hack/ slash crossover has the most new characters and does a great job or introducing you to the inhabitants and feel of that particular title. Everyone else you have seen before.

Robinson draws the two stories he writes and he is certainly on top form. The Blacklight story has a similar style but with less detail and fine-line work. The “All Girl Comics” doesn’t try and ape the established look and so unfortunately fails. BQ is a rich, crisp and exquisite experience. A true visual feast. Rendering that world in low-res, chunky black marker style really contrasts just how much effort and love goes into BQ and makes you appreciate Robinson’s passion and talent all the more.

There is a two page interview with Robinson, a work in progress gallery, and some promotional art for ComicCon. Most interesting are the fan commissions and the selection of characters he is asked to draw BQ with.

A Thumbs Up!

Bomb Queen VI: Time Bomb – Jimmie Robinson

Bomb Queen 6Welcome to bigger, better, faster, more; or just how far can Robinson push it. Capitalising on the trend for putting President Obama and other real people in comic books this is the most brutal satire on America.

Using real people and thinly veiled disguises of others does make for some uncomfortable reading. But in a country whose media delights in dumbing everything down maybe this in-your-face approach is what is needed to reach audiences ill-equipped for elegant satire.

Bomb Queen is a complex book and it attacks the lazy and ignorant about many issues. It doesn’t skimp on storytelling however. There a lot of strong twists and shocks that keep this an entertaining read as opposed to a hardcore rant. Or solely a hardcore rant. Each volume you have to remind yourself that she is a villain and that you aren’t supposed to be rooting for her; even if the heroes of our world are shady, hypocritical, self-serving, assholes.

The art is fantastic and nothing seems rushed or hurried. Each page is meticulously detailed and exquisitely coloured. Even the lettering shines and makes a valuable contribution to both the visual flair and characterisation. There are a lot of real world graphics used covering everything from governmental seals to internet sites. The first page is a series of Google searches on the fictional New Port City. This has to be one of the most elegant new reader primers ever devised and is typical of the intelligence which Robinson imparts into his work.

And you really can’t wait for next book as the final pages hit the fan.

An outstanding Thumbs Up!

Bomb Queen V: Bombastic – Jimmie Robinson

Bomb Queen 5This book is so highly polished it glows in the dark. It is possibly the finest in the series, yet the Queen is only in a third of the book.

This title follows three human protagonists working for a comic blog. Each of their personalities is a metaphor for a style of comic-book which dictates how they talk and act. Genius. Sequential art is very much the theme of this book. The fans, the tropes, the history all come under Robinson’s beady eye and are put through the wringer.

Although mostly about comics there are some witty political barbs and even a presidential appearance. Couple this with a really entertaining and suspenseful storyline and you are on to a winner. And just when you think BQ is every boy’s fantasy Robinson invents a super-heroine with the power of trains. Choo Choo baby! Like Editor Girl in the previous volume this is a really imaginative concept showcasing one of Robinson’s talents.

The art is top-notch. So much effort and creativity has gone into the layout, framing, panel shapes, colours, lettering and every aspect of this work. Everything but the kitchen sink is thrown at the page and all intelligently and successfully too.

There is an insightful introduction from the editor, the next red cross diary (are you reading those?), a sketch and concept gallery, and a selection fan art as extras.

Time for a Double Thumbs Up!!

Bomb Queen IV: Suicide Bomber – Jimmie Robinson

Bomb Queen 4The bitch is back and thank goodness so is the satire. With a nose bloodying punch this book gouges deep into America and all its political failings. After the growing pains of the previous two books this marks a definite return to form.

Trouble is it is almost too good. This book is packed with so much humour, gratuity and entertaining storyline that the critical message is in danger of being overshadowed. But Bomb Queen can be many things to many people so each reader will take what they want from the story.

There are crossover characters here but they are used much more intelligently. You get the feeling Robinson is picking and choosing the elements he wants to tell his story rather than having characters foisted upon him.

The art is just as bombastic as ever. Plenty of gruesome background detail and tasteless poses from our anti-heroine. Journeys to mainland America and Hell get a different colour palette to mark the geographical shift. Once again the lettering also gets a lot more attention than 90% of all other titles.

There is a hefty supernatural element to this tale and a definite Spawn presence but there should be enough other threads for you to grasp if you aren’t a fan.

A solid Thumbs Up!

Bomb Queen III: The Good, the Bad & the Lovely – Jimmie Robinson

Bomb Queen 3Oh no. It’s all gone horribly wrong. Crossover fever has forced this finely-crafted modern social satire off the rails. Characters we don’t know and care nothing about hijack the book to such an extent that Bomb Queen herself breaks the fourth wall and laments her lack of screen time.

This is a real disappointment. Comics we have never heard of are referenced and interlopers continue their story arcs in front of our bemused eyes. This is a shame as the storytelling technique, the art, and the lettering are all first rate.

But it does get better. Robinson finds a way to anchor these intruders to the BQ universe. Although the ensemble cast is a bit unwieldy and there is a lot of exposition to grease this rough and unwelcome insertion he does pull it off. If you see it through to the end you are rewarded with a thrilling story and a lot of neat little twists.

A late Thumbs Up!

Bomb Queen II: Dirty Bomb – Jimmie Robinson

Bomb Queen 2Well, the wonderfully biting satire has disappeared but it is replaced by quite a thriller. Here we have the origin story that was set up last volume and pays off in style. There is a great twist and typical Bomb Queen ending.

This is a great story but sadly overshadowed by the majesty of the opening book. If the two books were reversed things might be different, but might not. We see deeper into Bomb Queen’s mind and learn what a vulnerable character she is inside.

The art is great. There is plenty of nudity but cleverly the sex is replaced by double entendre pictures such as hotdogs, trains in tunnels and so on. This fits in really well with the humour and tone that Robinson is working hard to establish.

There is an over reliance on under age sex references as the principle shock value. The fact they aren’t particularly shocking is probably quite an insightful comment.

A great book that couldn’t possibly fill its predecessor’s shoes.

Thumbs Up!

Bomb Queen I: WMD – Jimmie Robinson

Bomb Queen 1A true villainess has taken control of a city setting herself up as a modern day queen. Various heroic types try and oust her from power in the name of the people. But is this what the people really want?

This is a satire. Quite a biting one that takes a pop at pretty much everything. It seeks to be brutal and tasteless, yet at the same time is laughing with you at itself. Politics, Western culture, sexism, the media, all come under fire.

In today’s world of corrupt and ineffectual politicians and governments how can you be sure they have your best interests at heart? If you can’t have the ideal of a benevolent dictator how about an apathetic one? At least you know where you stand, and they do all their dirty deeds right in front of you.

This is an interesting concept and certainly raises the question of how much shit are we prepared to eat if people tell us it is for our own good. There is plenty of moral outrage in today’s world but is it pointed the right way?

Bomb Queen herself is an interesting character, or rather an interesting idea. In four issues she doesn’t get a lot of room to grow but stamps a bold silhouette, ensuring she isn’t just a catalyst for the sociological theme.

Robinson highlights the way female characters have been portrayed in comics over the years and women in the media as a whole. He does this by making Bomb Queen the most outrageous caricature of tits and ass with the most pornographic costume you can ever imagine. He also uses panels and covers that cut her off at the nose, and by hiding her eyes further objectifying her. Thus making you the reader part of the equation in and endless spiral. And yet she rules a city, holds the power of life and death over hundreds of thousands of people and isn’t dressing like this to please her husband, employer or other male figure, but because she can.

The art is great with a digital, Manga, spandex, feel. Clever use of colours and perspective gives some real depth to the page. As Robinson writes and draws this work the two disciplines are in sync and the art is free to leave the panels and break the rules to satisfy his creativity.

You can keep reading layer after layer of depth into this work, perhaps more than was there in the first place, but it sure makes you sit up and take notice.

For asking questions via new and original ideas, a Double Thumbs Up!