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Will the Amazon Princess block those arrows on the cover? Or will she be skewered by the 52apolooza crew? Read on and find out!
Welcome to 52apolooza, the Outhouse feature focusing on DC's September Relaunch. All of DC's 52 titles will be reviewed by our pool of reviewers to point out the best and worst that DC's new comic book line has to offer. To see how this book ranks among the other new DC titles, be sure to check out our 52apolooza Rankings!
In a week where Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws sparked more controversy about females in comics, Wonder Woman also hit the stands. AreBrian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang worthy to work on a series featuring DC's leading lady? Or will they head down the same path that has left Wonder Woman in a state of constant mediocrity? Read on and find out!
Grab Bag Reviewer: David Dean (Twitter)
Wonder Woman is a horror comic now. Scary monsters. Dark villains. Blood soaked objects. Vertigo. Cats and dogs living together. A decapitated horse and what follows. (The previous is my favorite scene of the book. It doesn't quite outdo the Swamp Thing twisted-head scene, but close.)
This comic makes a good companion piece to Catwoman #1. Overall in the 52 reboot, I'm interested to see how DC will treat their two mainstream female characters—who are both usually sexualized. I'm happy to report Wonder Woman wasn't put in a thong and a Victoria Secret bra nor did she jump anyone's bones on the last page. (I felt like I had to address this. Happily moving on.)
I'll leave it up to you or someone smarter than me to decide how her femininity is treated. I honestly just want to see Wonder Woman punching things and twisting necks.
To call the new Wonder Woman a horror comic might not be the right way to describe the book. Azzarello is telling readers this in his interviews, but he really seems to be saying he wants to bring back the mythology. With that comes a sense of darkness from the twisted pantheon of Greek gods.
In any event, I'm excited to see where this is going. Bringing Azzarello on board is a clear indication from DC that they want to go in a different direction from where Wonder Woman has been before.
I'm hard pressed to talk about this comic without giving away spoilers. But this issue is merely set up, so I'm not so sure it matters. Azzarello puts all the pieces on the board, introducing the villain, the plot, the important secondary character, and the catalyst that sets everything in motion.
Honestly, I prefer to read Brian Azzarello in trade. He writes complex stories with a ton of detail. This issue is packed dense. With Azzarello, it's hard for me to remember everything from month to month. The way he writes dialogue is usually couched in double meaning and deserves a revisit. His books always deserve a reread. If you're going to collect these, I suggest you give the whole arc another look when it concludes to fully absorb what Azzarello will most likely do here. You won't regret it.
Finally, Azzarello has promised that he would define Wonder Woman by the end of the first story arc. We'll see if he succeeds.
(This comic gets bonus points for decapitated horse.)
Marvel Reviewer: Niam Suggitt
I'm pretty notorious around these parts as being a Wonder Woman hater. I used to say 'nobody cares about Wonder Woman' and generally that's held true. The character never really has a book worth talking about and in my eyes has been cruising along based on reputation only, she was big back in the day so DC keep her around, but nobody ever does anything interesting. I tried out JMS' run and found it to be poor, despite Phil Hester doing his best to make it work towards the end. So can Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang make Wonder Woman actually interesting for the first time since she was being used as William Moulton Marston's wank-material?
On the basis of this issue, then yes. Azzarello is a strange choice for a Wonder Woman title, but this out-there pick is what the character needs I think, someone who doesn't give a damn about what the character used to be or about pleasing her dwindling fanbase, but someone who wants to tell kick-ass stories involving Greek mythology and exciting action.
A lot has been made about the violence and horse-decapitation in this issue, but I didn't bat an eye at it, because I'm not a whiny pussy. Wonder Woman is a warrior, there's bound to be violence, and this Centaur-creation scene was a really great one, and a great reinterpretation of Greek Myth. Azzarello and Chiang do the same reinvention to the Gods Hermes and Apollo and it works really well. I can't wait to see how Azzarello will interpret the other Greek Gods in future issues.
Wonder Woman herself doesn't actually do that much in this issue, but I liked her here. The action scene where she fights the Centaurs was brilliant and her insistence at being called Diana instead of Wonder Woman was a nice touch. I still don't feel like Azzarello has made her interesting, but he has made the world around her more interesting, so Wonder Woman herself is sure to follow. This issue was more about setting up the threat and the new take on the Gods than Wonder Woman herself.
The art from Cliff Chiang was fantastic, I've been a fan of Chiang since his work on Doctor 13 with Azzarello, and he does his usual stylish work here. His Wonder Woman looks absolutely fantastic, whether in her costume or nude, and he draws the gruesomeness and strangeness of the mythological elements with great panache. He's just a brilliant artist, nothing more needs to be said, and this is one of the best-looking books of the new 52.
In the end, this was a good issue, I've still not been converted to being a fan of Wonder Woman, but I enjoyed myself here. I like seeing the character be taken into a darker world, to shake her out of her comfort zone of generic superhero action. And the art of course was great. If you've never been a fan of Wonder Woman, this one is definitely worth a shot. And if you are a fan of Wonder Woman... I don't understand you people.
Accessibility: 18/25 (Azzarello doesn't really explain who Wonder Woman is at all, so completely new fans may be a bit confused, but as long as you do know she's an Amazon you'll be fine. You'll also need some knowledge of Greek mythology)
Total Score: 82/100
New Reader Reviewer: Kelly Symmonds
Writing- This review will be short and will be full of thumbs up. I love Greek and Roman myth. This new version of Wonder Woman looks like it will be a blast to read. Hera coming down from Olympus to decapitate two horses was awesome. I was a little concerned with how they depicted Hermes but I got over it and I have forced myself to enjoy it. 22/25.
Art- Like Batman: Knight of Vengeance, this art style took a bit getting used to, but after a page or so I got over the initial shock. This still is not my favorite, nor is Chiang going to become my favorite artist any time in the near future, but it is very different from some of the other generic artists employed by DC. 20/25.
Accessibility- This issue took at least three readings to really understand what was going on and who was saying what. I didn't mind, seeing as I liked the issue more and more as I understood it better with each pass. This might be a harder read for a new reader but god damn is it worth picking up. 16/25.
Enjoyability- In my top five favorites of the 52. If you haven't read it yet, you're missing out; this looks like it will shape up to be a very well written and exciting new take on the Amazon Princess. 23/25.
Total 52apolooza Score (with Three Reviews In): 243 (Average Score: 81.0)
Written or Contributed by: David Dean, Niam Suggitt and Kelly Symmonds