Wonder Woman #8 Review OR Hermes And Wonder Woman Kick Some Dead Soul Ass!!

I’ll be super honest with you all, I was feeling A LOT of trepidation about this issue.  Wonder Woman #7 did not go over well with me in the slightest, and made me question the whole run.  Plus, after LOVING the first six issues, I really didn’t want any more disappointment… the last issue was more than enough, and if this one brought me down too then I’d be very distressed.  So how did it turn out?

First up, SPOILERS.

I’m going to talk about EVERY single important thing that happened in this issue, so if you haven’t read it yet then bugger off!!

I mean it… spoilers are the worst and you know it.

Okay, that’s enough warning.

Let’s start off with the elephant in the room, ie. the fact that the Amazons are rapists and murderers now.  This didn’t come up in the issue AT ALL.  Not even in passing.  There were two pages at the beginning where Wonder Woman gets armoured up with Hephaestus, and then she’s off to the races in Hell.  No reflecting on these shocking revelations, no discussion about her new brothers, no addressing her exhaustion at the end of the last issue.  It’s like nothing bad had happened.

On the one hand, I’m glad because I don’t know if I could’ve handled much more of that.  On the other, why the hell are the Amazons rapists and murderers now if they’re not going to do something with it?  I know there’s a lot of issues left for Azzarello, so maybe it’ll come up later, but so far it’s served ZERO purpose and been oddly back burnered right away.  I was hoping this issue might make it better somehow, and instead it ignored it entirely.  I’m not sure how I feel about that, mostly because it returns me to the limbo of hoping Azzarello can redeem it somehow.  I really don’t like limbo.  But so it goes.

Now, all of this tomfoolery aside, focusing just on the issue itself, how was it?

Well, I LOVED it.

It was fantastic.  Wonder Woman goes to Hell, fights some dead people, my favourite character in the universe (Hermes!) gets to fight too and is AWESOME, Wonder Woman saves her friend, sacrifices herself in the process, and sets up a crazy cliffhanger for next month.  What more can you ask for?

Plus, Cliff Chiang!!  Good lord I love Cliff Chiang.  He’s spectacular at layouts and page flow and his fight scenes in this issue are killer, but his expressions just slay me.  No one can do faces like Cliff Chiang.  Whether it’s the fierce nobility of Wonder Woman or Hermes being the coolest dude of all time, Chiang is amazing.  And he communicates emotion so brilliantly, especially with Zola.  This panel, where Wonder Woman arrives to rescue Zola after what has been months in Hell for her might be my favourite of the entire issue:

Look how happy she is!!  It’s sweet and adorable and EXACTLY how people should react when Wonder Woman shows up to help them out.  I love it.

Though this is pretty great too:

Hermes is kicking ass!!  He’s finally out of his leg cast and using his bird legs in the awesomest way possible.  You don’t want to mess with Hermes, man… the dude will take you down hard.  Also, this page comes after Wonder Woman decapitates four dead guys in one epic backflip sword swipe.  The fight scenes are super fun, helped in part by how creepy the bad guys are.

The horror element gets ratcheted up in this issue in two distinct ways.  First, there are freaky skinless people made just of muscle and bone busting out of statues and attacking our heroes.  They’re all dead-eyed, with mouths full of maggots.  It’s gross, and is followed by a cabin and its surrounding forest dissolving into hordes of the shapeless dead encircling Wonder Woman, Hermes, and Zola as they try to escape.  Because, oh yeah, Hell is made of dead people.

Hades recreates London and Zola’s cabin entirely out of the souls of the dead, which brings us to the second kind of horror, existential horror.  How messed up is to be entirely surrounded by dead souls?  The very ground you walk on can reach up and grab you… you can trust NOTHING in this world.  And even more dark, how messed up is to be one of those souls?  Wonder Woman suggests that the souls are being used by Hades, but Hermes says that the souls willingly participate, longing for some sort of purpose after death, for immortality at any cost.  It gets a little heavy, really.

The twist at the end is fun as well.  Apparently bullet deflecting bracelets don’t work on love bullets.  I wanted to call this review “Shot through the heart and you’re to blame” but it seemed a little bit too spoilery.  Anyway, uh oh:

Hades shot Wonder Woman with a love gun, leaving her in Hell to become his queen while Zola escapes with Hermes.  Now, there was part of this I didn’t like.  Hades offers to forgive Wonder Woman for lying to him about her Hera plan in exchange for Eros’ love guns, so she does the deal and then right away gets shot.  The poor girl gets duped AGAIN.  I don’t mind someone pulling a fast one on Wonder Woman every so often… she’s not perfect.  But it feels like it’s happening pretty regularly since the relaunch.  Wonder Woman’s general awareness has been poor at best.  I mean, that one was coming a mile away!!

Nonetheless, it does set up a fun next issue.  Wonder Woman getting out of marrying Hades should be a good time.  I’m sort of hoping that we get to spend more time with Wonder Woman next issue and that she escapes on her own.  I love the supporting cast, but they’ve overshadowed her a lot so far.  An all Wonder Woman issue where she busts out of Hell with her own kick ass skills would be a nice change.

So overall, I really enjoyed the issue.  The Amazon reveal from last month still bothers me like crazy, and I’m torn about them not addressing it here, but what they do instead is very fun and beautifully drawn.  While the Amazon reveal is still a dark cloud on the horizon for me, this issue was enjoyable enough to make me set it aside momentarily and just enjoy some of my favourite characters having a crazy adventure.

Next issue might be trickier, since it’s the first of two without Cliff Chiang.  Tony Akins is back, and he did a solid job when he filled in before, but Chiang just can’t be topped.  Plus I still have murdering Amazon trepidation that’s been entirely undealt with.  But that’s next month!!  This one was fun, and I was glad that Wonder Woman came back strong.  Honestly, a bit of the sheen’s worn off the series for me after last issue, but it was a damn good comic book this month.  And pretty.  So very, very pretty.

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7 Responses to “Wonder Woman #8 Review OR Hermes And Wonder Woman Kick Some Dead Soul Ass!!”

  1. JanArrah Says:

    I think this issue proves my point.. Azzarello doesn’t care about Diana or what happens to her, he is only interested in telling interesting stories. Diana, as a character, is just there.. not even a vehicle, but just there..

    Btw, if Azzarello is all into being “accurate” In mythical language as we’re told that’s why he wants the Amazons being murderous man hating women, why did he have Wonder Woman wearing an Eagle on her chest? The standard symbol for the ROMAN Empire. (YEs it’s classic WW motif, but we’re not suppose to care about anything that’s classic WW anymore.. b/c that doesn’t matter).

    • Tim Hanley Says:

      I thought this issue was one of the better ones so far in terms of Diana as a character in the center of the action and less of a quiet, background player, but I do see your point. Diana’s been doing a lot of reacting since the relaunch, with other characters initiating most of the action/story. Still, though, even in her reactionary role she’s pretty kick ass!!

  2. Steven R. Stahl Says:

    Azzarello doesn’t care about Diana or what happens to her, he is only interested in telling interesting stories.

    But that’s the goal of practically any professional writer. You seem to think that Diana somehow exists outside the stories. She doesn’t. Even if you read all the stories that she’s appeared in and then assemble a Wikipedia-style profile, that doesn’t make Diana any more real. The profile just guides a writer on how to handle her in a story.

    The biggest reason that the series has worked so well, and I specifically include #7, is that the stories aren’t merely vehicles for the star. Diana is an important element, but just an element.

    If all someone wants is a depiction of a character that reinforces his feelings about her, and presents her in a certain manner, he’d be much better off collecting pin-ups and commissioning artwork than he would be reading stories about her.


  3. Vicente Martínez Says:

    One wouldn’t say that of George Perez’s run. Diana was always the center of the story, without renouncing to have a good supporting cast. So, it is possible. But then again, those were different times, and a different WW.

  4. rgsc Says:

    Great review of a great issue. I only wish we saw WW busting out the love guns as is depicted on the cover. The cover image is so kickass!

  5. Susanna Says:

    Jumping in late, I actually saw Cliff Chiang and a panel of other DC artists this weekend and they were talking about how, for some strong, silent types (WW, Aquaman) in the New 52 the surrounding characters play crucial roles in characterization. CC specifically mentioned Zola and their interaction. What Tim is noting above – Zola’s face when she sees WW – says a lot about who WW is. To me, anyway.

    I started reading comic books when DC relaunched and so I’m very, very new to all of this and don’t have the historical perspective most (all) of you seem to have. But while I would like a little more re: Diana FROM Diana, maybe that’s not Diana.

    And the images speak so loudly – Diana on the cover of issue #1, yawping into the arrows – Diana’s friendship with Zola – when they talk after the nightclub scene – I think these things say a lot about her. Not everyone can jabber like Batgirl (who I adore in her new iteration – again, new to comics, don’t know much about Oracle, etc.). And not everyone should.

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