I didn’t hate Wonder Woman #13 by any means, but it was a LOT of setup that continued the “Wonder Woman getting fooled” motif I’m really getting bored with. While I knew the Orion stuff was a few issues off, and that Azzarello tends to save the good stuff for when Chiang is drawing the book, this issue was still pretty uneventful. Let’s dig into it, but first:
If you did not read this issue yet, I am about to RUIN it for you.
I mean, not much happened, so really it’s not THAT big of a deal this time.
Okay, before we get into how bored I was, let’s talk about something else. We’ll save that enthralling discussion for later. First, let’s talk about the very beginning, and the emergence of the creature that the solicits have labeled the “First Born”. This mean looking guy:
We don’t really find out much about who he is in this issue, other than that he likes to eat heads and that some scientist dudes have been expecting him to show up. Now, we do get this, the first words he speaks:
But I have no idea what that is. I searched around a bit, and it doesn’t look like any language I could find. I did learn that the symbol ʎ is called a palatal lateral approximant, but that wasn’t at all helpful. I thought the words might be some form of Greek, seeing as we’re dealing with the Greek gods and all, but it’s not. My best guess is that it’s a fictional language and I wasted my time searching, really.
Anyway, he’s a tough guy who can sit around naked with no ill effects in Antarctica, so clearly he’s going to be tough to beat, and it sounds like he’ll be the Big Bad for year two of Azzarello and Chiang’s Wonder Woman. We don’t know much about him yet, other than that he’s someone’s first born. He could be a Titan, he could be another secret Zeus kid, he could be some sort of Apokoliptian creature seeing as we’ve got Orion coming up soon. We’ll soon find out more I’m sure.
Also, remember that possible spoiler I posted a few days ago? That didn’t come up at all in this issue. Ares was in it, but he didn’t interact with Wonder Woman at all. Perhaps the event I discussed (I won’t spoil it here in case it does happen later) is coming up down the road, or perhaps they’ve changed the plan… we’ll have to keep reading to find out.
Anyway, onto the story itself. After the gruesome introduction of the First Born, we get to the pool party of the gods and learn two things. First, Athena’s not there. She’s been mysteriously absent for a while. Second, they’re all scared of Wonder Woman and think she might be the fulfillment of the prophecy from all the way back in Wonder Woman #1.
Then we get some comic relief with Hera and Zola, and Wonder Woman sets off in search of Siracca, her half-sister and another of Zeus’ many illegitimate children. She’s got cool wind powers that let her hear everything that gets said, so she could be helpful in tracking down Hermes. She is, however, a little skittish.
Wonder Woman takes off to Libya to meet her and runs into some soldiers that she dispatches easily, and then she meets a little girl. Here’s where things went off the rails for me. The first half of the book was fairly uneventful, apart from that guy getting his head bit in half, but now Wonder Woman gets to both fail and be duped, so win-win.
She meets a little girl that had been hiding among the soldiers, and promises to keep her safe. The soldiers always hurt the little girl and her fellow visitors, but Wonder Woman says:
They set off to the secret place where the villagers hide, which turns out to be Siracca’s palace. Siracca bombards Wonder Woman and the little girl with swords and knives, all of which Wonder Woman deflects, except for one that kills the little girl.
So Wonder Woman isn’t super great at being Wonder Woman. For six pages she was all “don’t worry, I’ll protect you” and then BAM the first thing they come across kills the kid with a sword right through the heart. I’m not super pleased about that. Wonder Woman doesn’t have to be perfect all the time, of course, but a lot of this run has involved Wonder Woman screwing up. She got all angry and stormed off and her mom got turned into a statue, Zola got nabbed a few times even though Wonder Woman had sworn to protect her… that sort of thing.
But don’t worry, because it was all an elaborate ruse!! That child was actually Siracca, who has lured Wonder Woman into her lair!! OH NO!! Cliffhanger.
It seems that Wonder Woman has been bamboozled yet again. This version of Wonder Woman just isn’t very bright. From “WHAT? Zeus is my father?” to “WHAT? My Amazon sisters raped and killed sailors?” to “WHAT? This fight was a distraction so you could take Zola?” TWICE to “WHAT? Hermes was playing us?”, people pull the wool over Wonder Woman’s eyes ALL the damn time in this series. It’s getting really old. Even when Wonder Woman has a rare moment of triumph, there’s usually a trick involved to pull the rug out from under her and spoil the victory.
When I reviewed the last issue, I talked about how the Amazons have been diminished and how the sources of Wonder Woman’s various strengths are all men now. At the same time, Wonder Woman’s been shown to be kind of a dope. She’s trusting and naïve to a degree that you just have to be concerned about the woman. This is not a particularly strong Wonder Woman. It’s not blatantly bad or anything like that, nor do I think it’s intentional, but the stories so far are adding up to a Wonder Woman who owes far more of her abilities to men than to women and who, on her own, isn’t all that bright. And that’s just not Wonder Woman to me.
Now, I still like this book. Not this issue particularly, because nothing of any real consequence happened, but the series as a whole. When it’s good, it’s REALLY good, and it’s capable of fantastic moments and great characters. But more and more I’m finding that I have to divorce this take on Wonder Woman from MY Wonder Woman, if that makes any sense. My smart, skilled Wonder Woman would have had this all wrapped up in a few issues, someone suitable would have been on the throne of Olympus, her mom would be alive, and Zola would have her baby. This Wonder Woman is a little more impulsive, a little more reckless, and far less clever. And that’s the only Wonder Woman we’ve got right now, apart from the one hooking up with Superman in Justice League and lord knows that’s not better. It’s a different take on the character, and I love the world that’s been built around her… it’s just sort of a bummer that Wonder Woman herself is one of my least favourite parts of that world.
Anyway, it was a dull issue and my Wonder Woman-related problems continue. But hopefully Wonder Woman #14 will have some more exciting things going on, and at the very least we’ll be one step closer to Orion!! I’m very curious to see what Orion’s up to. The supporting cast of this book is always spectacular.
Yeah, that was sort of a backhanded compliment.