As previously stated in an earlier column, I’m a little bit of a late comer to the Brian Azzarello train.
I also didn’t like Wonder Woman.
Until this week.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the character of Wonder Woman is interesting, but she’s never really been handled well enough where I’ve gravitated towards her in any way beyond the Justice League cartoon and the DC Direct animated film (which is really good). I think the problem is since she hasn’t had a great run in so long, I became disinterested. I think Gail Simone was doing good things that could have lead to greatness had she been allowed to continue. George Perez also had a solid run after Crisis on Infinite Earths. But in between those two, there is a lot of same old, same old.
But then came The New 52.
I have issues with the New 52 and not the way that others do. I don’t think the reboot was a bad idea. For many books and characters, the New 52 has been a new lease on life. A breath of fresh air on stale characters over-burdened by a lot of useless and not so great continuity. My issues are from the haphazard way a lot of the books are running. Batman’s timeline makes no sense, even with a willing suspension of disbelief. Green Lantern seems about the same as it did but Superman is different, etc etc. If this had been truly a start from scratch/restart of everything, I probably would have invested more time in more books than I have. Despite this, Wonder Woman nagged at me to pick it up. Every time I saw one of those Cliff Chiang covers, it was like a siren’s song. “Come buy me… I promise I’ll be good.” But I resisted. A week ago I was at a BBQ at a friend’s and the subject of Wonder Woman came up. Everyone suggested I get it.
On Wednesday, I grabbed my latest issue of TMNT (FUGITOID!) and the first Wonder Woman hardcover, Blood.
To say I had the doors blown off wouldn’t be an exaggeration.
This book fucking rocks, plain and simple.
What Azzarello has done is really continued the mythology of the Greek Gods and intertwined it expertly with Wonder Woman. Not to give much away but remember how Zeus liked turning into swans and cows and impregnating random Earth girls? What makes you think he would have stopped? And that’s very much a part of the series that I love. In the past comics, Wonder Woman and others, the old pantheons are always portrayed as they were originally. Viking Gods always have horned helmets. Greek gods always wear togas and armor. But with this series, Azzarello and Chiang take the simple idea of “if these gods existed now, what would they have evolved into?” and brings it to Wonder Woman’s world. Wonder Woman herself has been updated in both look and origin but in a way that pays homage to both her “born of clay” origin and Greek mythology in general.
Some have complained about Chiang’s art style on the book, but for me it works perfectly. Tony Akins steps in for a few issues and it’s a little jarring (that’s not to say his art is bad by any means. He’s a solid artist. Just the style change is very evident). Colorist Mathew Wilson should also be given a big hand as it’s some really amazing work he’s doing. It’s one of the best art/color teams I’ve seen in a while.
Weirdly, the best book I can compare it to is Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. While the two books are very different thematically (if I had to boil them down, Sandman is essentially a drama/horror while Wonder Woman is an action/superhero book), it’s how the mythology is treated and updated that reminds me of Gaiman’s opus. The quality of this book on all points is just amazing.
In short, Wonder Woman has quickly become my new “CAN’T WAIT UNTIL THE NEXT TRADE!!!” book and I whole heatedly recommend you check it out.
If you’re going to geek out, GEEK HARD!