Monday, 20 January 2014

Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Blood and Vol. 2: Guts (The New 52)

Jumping and hitting things, becasue she's
Wonder Woman 
Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Blood and Vol. 2: Guts (The New 52)

Writer Brian Azzarello

Artists: Cliff Chiang and Tony Akins

Collecting: Wonder Woman #1-6 (Vol. 1) and Wonder Woman #7-12 (Vol.2)

Background Information:

Mythology has influenced many a comic in both Marvel and DC. Thor is based mostly on Nordic mythology, Batman is regularly mistaken for a vampire, and even Superman is often interpreted as a Jesus figure in comics.

Enter Wonder Woman, a princess from an island of Amazonian warrior women who has brought herself into the modern world for unexplained reasons. Her character is deeply rooted in Greek mythology and as such, she has fought Gods often and won.

As such, she could probably beat Thor. Avengers fans, please take a moment to picture one of the most powerful Avengers being beaten by a girl.

On a separate note, please scroll down for what is bound to be an uninteresting flamewar based on whether Marvel or DC is better.

Review:

If you’re going to read Blood, you’re going to have to read Guts and probably the third collection in this series. Azzarello has crafted an exceptionally long story arc here- one that I don’t see ending any time soon. Don’t worry about the lack of closure, however, Azzarello, Chiang and Akins have worked together to give us an intriguing tale that looks absolutely amazing.

Blood and Guts follow Wonder Woman as she seeks to protect Zola; a woman who is carrying Zeus’ unborn child. Those who are semi-well-versed in Greek mythology will know that Zeus is the king of the Gods and he’s known for multiple affairs with mortal women. This has the habit of making his wife, Hera very angry, as betrayed spouses often are. The same goes for this book. Hera wants Zola’s unborn child dead and is happy to kill anyone who gets in her way.

While trying to protect Zola, Wonder Woman runs the gauntlet of angry Greek gods from Apollo to Strife. They’re vivid characters who give us the impression that there’s a wider conspiracy going on here. It kinda forces the reader to pit their wits against the gods and that’s equally fun and exciting. Zola is also interesting. Her personality is a little on edge (she has no idea who the kids father is, it could have been a truck driver, a musician, or who knows what), but she’s fun to read and becomes very easy to sympathise with.

If only Wonder Woman’s personality was so interesting. She’s hardly badly written, but it seems like she’s the only character in either of these books who doesn’t really have a voice of her own. When the book’s called Wonder Woman, that’s a problem. Again, saying she’s the blandest character in the book isn’t saying much when the series is so crammed full of awesome characters, but I would have liked to see a personality in Wonder Woman that really stood out. She currently just comes off as a gender-inverted Superman.

The art is great here. Chiang and Akins have developed a distinct style that fits Wonder Woman perfectly- something I can’t say about other New 52 titles which mostly have Jim Lee’s look to them (Aquaman, Nightwing, Teen Titans and Green Lantern- New Guardians are just examples). The books look more like an episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender than anything seen in titles like Justice League, and it suits Wonder Woman really well. Something of that style clearly reflects Wonder Woman’s mythological background. I’m sure there’s some people who think Wonder Woman doesn’t look buff enough here as per Gal Gadot complaints, but I see nothing wrong in a character looking feminine and still not content with being the damsel in distress.

Which brings me to my final point as to why I love the New 52 Wonder Woman. Nowhere do I see a male character that would save everyone were he not so pathetic. There’s no bumbling prince who is too stupid or wimpy to save the day, no male is dead that would otherwise be the hero. Wonder Woman isn’t the hero because there’s nobody better around. She’s a brilliant hero in her own right.

Wonder Woman is a great book that deserves the attention of every reader. It gets a four and a half out of five uninteresting flamewars.

**** ½

+ Beautiful art

+ Awesome Characterisation

- Wonder Woman is the least interesting character in the book

Alternate option: The Batgirl Series

I really think this is the strongest female character in the New 52 right now. Check it out.