At the beginning of this book, the lead character says “did you get a glimpse of that sexy cover and expect some sorta [tits] and [ass] book? Well there’s some story here too.” Which is true, after a fashion. But don’t expect that to mean that Steve Mannion might do anything other than dress all his female protagonists in bikinis (or variations thereof) and let them high-kick their way through a series of genre adversaries, including Nazis, dinosaurs, zombies and pirates.
There are a range of characters (in bikinis) to choose from. The lead protagonists are a pair of school girls, one who chooses to dress up in a cowl with moose horns, and a tight, cropped sports outfit; and the other who is essentially a teenage Betty Page (loose fitting clothes prone to underwear flashing). These girls fight crazed, disfigured Nazis, hiding out in post-war America. Then there’s Sea Goin’ Lil (knotted shirt, hot-pants), who has the attentions of her pirate crew to fend off; and Jungle Chick (fur bikini), who obliviously pouts her way through a series of unwitting encounters with a slathering tyrannosaurus. There are a couple more but you get the idea.
Mannion’s art is accomplished and bold. He clearly enjoys drawing his subject matter and does it very well. But the art is let down by the stories, which try so desperately hard to imply that there’s more to the book than boobs and bums, that it comes across like a teenager caught red-handed. Simultaneously, while managing a certain level of sexiness, its desire not to cross the line from gently suggestive glamour into soft porn leaves it stuck somewhere in between.
This whole mixed message, from the covers to the content, is inevitably disappointing. More story and less focus on boobs (or maybe more sex and less denial) might have improved the situation. But as it stands, The Bomb is neither one thing or another, while propping itself up on the weakest elements of both.