I’m sorry if you’re a DC fan. Honest to God, life must be a suck fest for you right now. With all of the terrible awful decisions they have been making I thought Villains Month would have seen mass suicides amongst ring toting members of the DC fandom. So I decided with my infinite compassion to remind loyal readers that out of the polyp that is “The New 52” that not everything has been a miserable failure that shatters dreams and turned an entire generation of enthusiastic comic lovers into hardened curmudgeons. Who here read “Wonder Woman”? And out of that, who was expecting “Wonder Woman” to kick-ass? Because it caught me completely by surprise. I’m saying this with limited knowledge of the Wonder Woman universe beforehand because the previous incarnation of Diana was boring as Hell. She was muddled and flat and just generally uninteresting. But this Diana, she knew who she was and she established her presence in the world from the instant she popped on the page. So let’s go back and look at the only good relaunch in “The New 52” with “Wonder Woman #1”.
Batman deals with the seedy underbelly of crime, Superman saves the world from danger… what does that leave for Wonder Woman? Well Brian Azzarello shows us exactly what Wonder Woman was put here to do. Her revamp gave her a direction, she now has a much closer tie to her Greek Goddess roots and the fate of the world depends on her solving the many problems her “family” instigates. And issue one starts the problems early with a prophecy that spells certain doom. See, that’s how you kick things off—knock down the door and tell everyone they’re going to die and then leave. Also? The monsters that charge in are gruesome and ferocious and my favorite. They are like demon centaurs. Plus, all of it fits within the purview of Greek epics that are so named because of their grandiose scale.
If you know anything about the Greek Gods, you know that Zeus has trouble keeping it in his pants. Which is why he has so many children in mythology and why he has a new son in the first issue of “Wonder Woman”. And if you know anything about Hera, you know that she is super beautiful, super scary, and super jealous. She shows up in this book and immediately attempts murder and the first reaction I had was, “Accurate.” That’s one of the great things about this book is that it weaves traditional Greek mythology into contemporary epics. Sure there are the straight copies from the lore itself—when Hephaestus shows up he is truly, tragically ugly. However, some things are adapted to be more fitting with the here and now. When Apollo uses those three party women to be the Three Fates I thought that was brilliant. There are all sorts of things like that and the more demi-gods we meet in this story, the more diverse the present state of mythology becomes and quickly reveals that Wonder Woman doesn’t fit in the rest of “The New 52”.
Diana’s outfit has been a topic of contention for a long time. From the pants in the Straczynski run to the terrible concept for the failed TV show, Wonder Woman has been the unfortunate victim of terrible taste. Even when the new “Justice League” book kicked off, there were some unfortunate missteps with the outfit—the hair alone screamed “Flashdance”. But the artwork in this book cohesively blends the more ridiculous aspects of Diana’s outfit with the truly epic story of a deity war. AND SHE USES THE BRACERS! She deflects a God Damn arrow the size of a man! How bad ass is that? But Wonder Woman isn’t the only really cool design work in the book. Yes, the Gods are very much as they are described in mythology though with interesting twists. Hermes gets to be a bit more avian than in previous incarnations. Apollo? Actually burning rock. Ares isn’t the typical Spartan Warrior as he is usually portrayed but a wizened old man with balding head and silver beard. All of the design work in this book is truly incredible and fits well in this universe of Gods and monsters forced to fit in a universe of super heroes.
But Gods versus superheroes, Invincible versus Wonder Woman, how does it stack up against the best book out right now? They both have to tell a story while confined to the conventions of their own genre and they both pull it off magnificently. Isn’t it enough of a victory for “Wonder Woman” that she fares better than “Superman” would? “Wonder Woman” does have some ground to make up though since it is a reboot while “Invincible” has been with us for ten years now. Though both of them have had legendary battles with their family so perhaps “Wonder Woman” is on the right track.