Juan Antonio Ramirez
As Paul Tobin has shared his list of favorite female characters, I was especially keen to see how he’d write one of mine. I was a big fan of The Six Million Dollar Man back in the day, and 11-year-old me was deeply affected by the tragic love story of Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers. For those who don’t know, Steve and Jaime (I called them Steve and Jaime) dated before Jaime was in a skydiving accident that nearly took her life and did give her amnesia. Steve convinced his superiors at the Office of Scientific Information to save Jaime’s life with bionic implants, spinning her off into her own series, but without any memories of being in love with poor Steve and oh, the heartbreak!
My having a huge crush on actress Lindsay Wagner may have also helped my interest in The Bionic Woman, but I’m fairly certain that I fell in love with Jaime first. The question I had going into the comic book series was whether or not I’d be as haunted by comic book images as I was by those TV shows. Or if Tobin even wanted to tell that kind of story in the first place. Not knowing what to expect, I plunged in with as open a mind as possible.
Although Tobin references Jaime Sommers’ backstory (and Austin makes a cameo in the fourth issue), the focus is – in fact – not at all on them. I think that’s wise. The melodrama of the TV shows was helped by lens filters, swelling music, and actors staring longingly at the camera, but none of that’s going to play in a comic book. Instead, Tobin keeps the series focused on the spy stuff. Sommers is no longer with the Office of Scientific Intelligence, but working on her own. Her break with OSI hasn’t been completely defined, but seems amicable, even if the organization didn’t really have much input about her leaving. They’re not hunting her down at any rate. This, too, is wise.