Brandon Jerwa has written many comics including G.I. Joe, Battlestar Galactica, and Vampirella. Now he’s taking on The Bionic Woman Season Four at Dynamite. Westfield’s Roger Ash contacted Jerwa to learn more about this upcoming series.
Westfield: How did you become involved with the series?
Brandon Jerwa: I had been asked to write Li’l Bionic Kids, and that was a real blast for me. I saw the news of Dynamite’s continuation of The Six Million Dollar Man, and I wrote to ask if they had plans for Bionic Woman. They told me to send a pitch, and here we are.
Westfield: Do you need to have seen the TV show to understand what’s going on?
Jerwa: Not at all. The first issue starts with the classic opening credit sequence that tells the basics about Jaime Sommers, and that’s really all you need to know. I’m an old hand at licensed properties at this point, so I like to think that I have a pretty decent grasp on delivering that balance of appeal for hardcore fans and brand-new readers.
Something like Battlestar Galactica comes with a fair amount of storytelling baggage, but Bionic Woman is pretty clear-cut and easy to get into, even if you have no clue who Jaime Sommers is.
Westfield: What can you tell us about the story in The Bionic Woman Season Four?
Jerwa: I’m not trying to be evasive, but issues 1-4 comprise one over-arcing story, and issue 5 is a standalone adventure. There are spoiler components that I need to avoid, but I’ll tell you this: Jaime finds herself lured into a trap that cuts her off from her usual support network at O.S.I., so we have two big threads: Jaime’s fight to solve the mystery of her own predicament, and the drama that comes from her friends trying to find her.
There’s plenty of action, and more than a few surprises in store for Jaime. The main story arc is sort of a nod to the weirdo mystery action of The Prisoner, but it’s still a story that you could very much believe might have been part of the Bionic Woman television series. Until I started working in the Bionic comic world, I’d forgotten how utterly anything-goes-insane the TV shows could be sometimes. I’m trying to deliver on that same sense of wonder and adventure.
Issue 5 puts Jaime and her on-again/off-again paramour Chris Williams in a situation that I’d describe as “Die Hard in a submarine.” Why? Because it’s fun. Comics are still allowed to be fun, right?
Westfield: Will you be adding new characters to the series?
Jerwa: The villains are new, and I have introduced one new staff member at O.S.I. – her name is Agnes, and she’s sort of Jaime’s “voice on the phone” for missions. Agnes is named after the great artist Agnes Garbowska, who drew the “Pantha” segments that my son and I wrote for the Li’l Vampi comic. She’s a super-genius, and a great collaborator. It seemed like a perfect namesake for a young, wide-eyed recruit who helps Jaime get the job done.
Westfield: You’re working with artist David T. Cabrera on the book. What can you say about your collaboration?
Jerwa: David is fairly new on the scene, as I understand it, but he’s delivering pages that look like they came from a seasoned professional. That’s not hype for the sake of it – he’s very good. I’ve seen two issues worth of art thus far, and my only notes have been “looks great!”
Westfield: Any closing comments?
Jerwa: I’d really like people to know that this is an old-school comic, in the sense that there’s no swearing, no sex, and no graphic violence. Yes, there’s some fighting and occasional gunplay, but it’s all in keeping with the standard set by the TV series, as it should be. If you’re okay with your kids seeing some PG-rated Bionic Woman fighting, then you can feel safe putting this series in the hands of a (relatively) younger reader. There’s no need to make this property grim-and-gritty, because that’s not what it was about in the first place. I have a 9-year-old girl in my life, and I think Jaime Sommers is a fine role model for her. Hopefully, the readers will agree.