• Seth Singleton - Editor

Apathy, “Defining Moments”, and stories that Motivate us.

Updated: Mar 16, 2019

By Fen Smith

I’ve been musing on the power of stories a lot lately. Stories can help us to process our internal struggles, make us feel less isolated, and even shake us out of our inertia and make us feel more dynamic. While “DC Bombshells” is hardly a “great” story by any stretch of the imagination, it is a galvanizing one and one that has stuck with me longer than I’d initially anticipated.

DC Bombshells, written by Marguerite Bennett and illustrated by a variety of artists, tells the story of an alternate-history WWII in which several teams of Superheroines utilize their abilities to combat the Nazis. Although there is a good deal of bombast, the series presents a world much like our own in which enemies and allies alike come in a variety of forms and our best weapon against the forces of division and hatred is a commitment to intersectional solidarity and healing.

The largely female ensemble cast features characters across a range of ethnic, cultural, and gender identities who all work to recognize and acknowledge each other’s shared struggles and band together against the forces of oppression. Of crucial import to the series as a whole is a discussion of societal privilege. The characters regularly acknowledge their unique individual privileges and, instead of hiding behind them, actively leverage these advantages to help others. Bombshells posits that a person’s “defining moment” of heroism can come at any time and that one should always be seeking ways in which to help others.

The Batwoman leverages her combat skills and a vast family fortune to fight back against the Nazis.

In one of my favorite panels, after musing about how people love to fantasize about themselves being heroes in past conflicts, Harley Quinn shrewdly states that “what you do now is what you would have done then” -- a clear eyed appeal against apathy in the face of injustice. Bombshells reaffirms the idea that it is a person’s choices and actions as opposed to whether or not they have any special abilities that make them a superhero. It challenges all of us to identify our own uniques strengths and put them to work in service of creating a better future.  

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