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Tag Archive: Leno Carvalho


By C.J. Bunce

Dynamite Comics writer Paul Tobin promised readers “baguettes, bullets, and bionic badass” with his new Bionic Woman comic book series and Issue #1 delivers on the “bionic badass”.  Although it feels more like a prologue to the series, because it spends the issue with backstory and tells more than it shows, it’s a good enough start to keep readers coming back for more.

Jaime Sommers has been completely updated from the 1970s cyborg superhero played by Lindsay Wagner, who spun off her own show from the original Six Million Dollar Man TV series that starred Lee Majors as Bionic Man Steve Austin.  In the new Bionic Canon we have only seen Jaime in the origin story of Kevin Smith and Phil Hester’s rebooted Bionic Man series.  There we learned she was Steve Austin’s girlfriend, but after Steve crashed and was turned into a cybernetic weapon of the Office of Scientific Intelligence or OSI, she was told Steve was dead and we know now she has moved on.  We learn that they got back together once Steve recovered, and shortly thereafter Jaime plunged to the ground in a parachuting accident.  Steve convinces Oscar Goldman & Company to rebuild her as they rebuilt him, and this occurs.  Then they have a falling out.  We don’t get a lot of information comparing Steve and Jaime’s bionics, but we do learn Jaime is “smoother” and “faster” than Steve.

So we now have Jaime Sommers, cybernetic human, a former teacher, who has lost most of her pre-surgery memories, on the run in Paris from the people who rebuilt her.  Unlike the original Jaime, this new Bionic Woman has amped up abilities–if Lindsay Wagner was Bionic Woman 1.0, think of her as a Bionic Woman 8.0.  In one scene we see that her bionics are smooth and form fitting with her arms and legs, a bit like the Terminator.  But like the Terminatrix from Terminator 3, she can do many new, cool things, like camouflage herself by morphing her face to change her appearance.  She can also download anything and everything from the Web into her brain… enormous amounts of information that she is yet to fully be able to control.  And she knows kung-fu.

We meet her in Issue #1 on the run with another runner, apparently a bit of a bounty hunter searching out information to broker to others, including information on the illusive Ms. Sommers.  Not knowing what she looks like, he reveals all that he knows–basically the backstory for readers–also letting Jaime in on what information he has on her.  It doesn’t amount to much.  She barely attempts to hide her identity, mainly because she is so confident in the outcome of the charade.  She doesn’t have to hide.  With a move of her arm she opens up a port releasing a nano-bug that temporarily incapacitates her comrade, and she is off to hide from watchers off the Grid.

But as she catches up with a friend in a restaurant a bullet pierces a nearby window en route to her head.  And we are left with the series first cliffhanger ending.  The villains are a new organization trying to steal cyborg parts from Bionic prototypes, predecessors to Jaime and Steve–presumably to use for others for a price.

Other than a quick peek at her cybernetics in her apartment, Jaime is not drawn as your typical female superhero.  She wears a pant suit of sorts as she speeds through town across the cityscape.  Leno Carvalho does not take the normal route here of skimpy outfits and emphasis on her feminity.  This creates visually a more promising heroine for us to keep an eye on.  She’s savvy, smart and sure-footed… a badass who can clear a room full of bad guys all by herself.

Issue #1 reveals big questions that writer Tobin will be taking us through in coming issues:  Who is after Jaime?  Why is she on the run?  Why did she leave Steve?  How did she end up in Paris?  How long can she stay hidden?  What other bionic tricks are up her sleeve (or accessible through her data ports)?

Issue #1 is available at all comic shops beginning this week and will be published monthly.

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Following up on the recent scuttlebutt on a possible Bionic Man movie down the road from the Weinsteins and Bryan Singer, Dynamite Comics has announced it is creating a Bionic Man spin-off series featuring Jaime Sommers, Bionic Woman.  Writer Paul Tobin has an entirely new take on the Bionic Woman, first appearing in the original Six Million Dollar Man series in the early 1970s.   Interviewed by WestfieldComics.com, Tobin characterizes the story as follows:

“At heart it’s a mystery tale, where Jaime needs to uncover a group of DECIDEDLY illegal organ transplant doctors, ones who have begun to look at Jaime, and other “bionics” as THE best organ donors, whether these “donors” like it or not.  Along the way, there are quite a few explosions, some new friends, some betrayals, a man with amazing hunting skills and no morals at all, a pretty French girl, a boat that sinks, some afternoon tea, a romantic hopeful, exactly 12,456 bullets (barring script revisions) and a partridge in a pear tree.  Said partridge may or may not explode. Have I mentioned the explosions?”

Sounds like it will have some good humor.  Dynamite Comics is marketing the series with the following blurb:

“Paris is the city of love?  Not anymore… not since Jaime Sommers, the Bionic Woman, came to town hot on the trail of the Mission, a collection of insanely high-priced surgeons who’ve been murdering OSI’s bionic prototypes in order to provide new life for billionaire patients.  But while the Bionic Woman is hunting the Mission, their #1 hunter is after her!  Can Jaime pick up the pieces of her past while protecting her life in the present, or will the city of love turn its back, and its bullets, on the Bionic Woman?  Acclaimed writer Paul Tobin brings you a tale of baguettes, bullets, and bionic badass!”

So it sure doesn’t feel like an origin story. But maybe Tobin and Dynamite are only summarizing the series itself as opposed to the first issue.  Still, Tobin has said there will be only a slight appearance by Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man, despite the header on the book “From the pages of Kevin Smith’s Bionic Man.”  I still can’t help but scrunch my eyebrows a bit over the emphasis on the Bionic Man being a Smith story vs. the original Martin Caidin story.  Strangely enough one cover released has the reference to Kevin Smith, the other nearly identical cover doesn’t.  But no matter, one more bionic book just gives us more to look forward to on the comics rack and if Smith’s name has some marketing power then great.

We can also look forward to the new series’ Brazilian artist Leno Carvalho, who will be penciling the Bionic Woman.  Carvalho is a more recent entrant into the comic book art world.  Covers will be created by Paul Renaud.

And here is what finally makes sense about Jaime Sommers.  Her name.  Yes, “jaime” means “I love” in French, pronounced “zhem”, but as names go, Jaime is a centuries old Spanish boy’s name pronounced “hi-may.”  But like the street name Madison was turned into thousands of girls’ names in the 1980s because of Daryl Hannah in the movie Splash, there are as many 30 and 40-something girls out there from the 1970s named Jaime, not Jamie, and they pronounce it the same way: “jay-me”.  So by making Jaime a character in Paris, it finally all makes sense, right?  But how do we pronounce it?  I bet I know how readers in France will pronounce it.  Too bad they didn’t spell Sommers as Summers and we could have had a crossover family tale with our old pal Buffy Summers.

Anyway… Europe as a venue for modern superheroines is a good idea.  The Huntress limited series from DC Comics used Italy to good effect, and hopefully Hobin will do the same for the Bionic Woman in the streets of Paris.

Bionic Woman, published by Dynamite Comics, is expected to be published in March 2012.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

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