When we last left our team of adventurers, Hermes and Zola had beamed out of Hell, leaving Wonder Woman behind to marry Hades after he shot her through the heart with Eros’ love gun. What does this issue hold? A daring escape? An intrepid rescue? Let’s find out what happens, after the usual spoiler warnings!!
So yeah, SPOILERS!!!!!
If you haven’t read the issue, I’m about to spoil EVERYTHING that happened in it.
Seriously, all of it.
Even if you’re trade waiting or something, all of your enjoyment will be ruined.
Or roont. I’m reading Wolves of the Calla right now. I’m very worried about Susannah!!
I really doubt anyone is going to know what I’m talking about there.
I mean, I know it’s a Stephen King book, but I NEVER hear people talking about the Dark Tower stuff.
Yeah, nothing really happened in this issue.
Elaborate, you say? Okay. The issue starts with Wonder Woman in Hell, about to marry Hades. The issue ends with Wonder Woman in Hell, about to marry Hades. There’s a bit of conversing in between, a lot of gruesomeness, and yeah… nothing really happens.
Let’s do a quick run through: Strife invites Ares to the wedding, but he’s not coming. Zola is pissed the Hermes won’t go save Wonder Woman, but he promised to protect Zola above all else. Diana gets dressed for the wedding and talks to a freaky Persephone. Zola and Hermes meet naked Aphrodite, and Zola forgives Hermes basically. Strife convinces Hades to make sure Diana loves him. Hephaestus shows up (invited, to the wedding) with Eros and Lennox. Hades decides to test Diana’s love by putting her in her lasso, hangman’s noose style… if she loves him, then good, if not, then she dies. Cliffhanger ending!!
Also, this cliffhanger ending is on the dang cover, so there’s that.
Nothing is resolved, other than a minor conflict between Zola and Hermes that only begins in this issue. The plot barely crawls forward. Last issue was cool and creepy and exciting. This issue was really flat and slow for me.
Part of it is no Cliff Chiang. If you’ve read any of my Wonder Woman reviews, then you know I’m all about Cliff Chiang and that I think his art just makes everything WAY better. Tony Akins is fine, and has some good moments here. I particularly liked Zola’s rainbow hoodie:
But really, none of the characters feel quite right to me without Cliff Chiang drawing them. I don’t want to be down on Akins or anything, but Chiang is just EPIC.
Azzarello seems to be using this issue to let us get to know people, but anything we learn is stuff we knew already. It’s no shocker that Ares is a curmudgeon in the middle of a war zone. Strife being conniving is nothing new. Zola is hot tempered, Hermes is calm and rational, Hades is a creepy weirdo. Aphrodite’s new, but all we really learn about her is that she’s super pretty, and anyone with the tiniest mythology awareness would know that. Oh, and that Wonder Woman misses Paradise Island is also not a shock. And again, the cliffhanger was on the cover. The whole issue felt like rehashing filler.
Being negative is no fun though. There were some good things. I thought that the opening pages, that were available earlier in a preview, were really strong. It’s some of Akins’ best work to date, and Ares and Strife interacting was lots of fun. Strife is always nice to see, and I’m glad she’s back.
The issue also succeeds with its horror bent. Hell is a terrible, gruesome place. Hades sits on a throne made of his starving father (Kronos, I assume), whose tears supply the wine for the wedding. Wonder Woman meets Persephone, Hades first wife, whose arms are slashed from when she tried to escape Hades. It looks like she tried to kill herself to get away from him, but since he’s the lord of the dead that sounds like the dumbest plan ever. Maybe I read it wrong. Regardless, all of Hell is SUPER creepy. Even Wonder Woman gets in on the creepiness with her blood red gown, accessorized with severed hands, after being dressed by her attendants (with dog faces and crazy snake Medusa-style hair):
Azzarello’s been going for horror with Wonder Woman, and he hits it more conventionally here. Last issue was more about the existential horror of Hell, and while this issue touches on similar themes (particularly with Persephone) it’s also more straight up unsettling and creepy visually.
At the end of the day, though, nothing really happens. And more importantly, Wonder Woman is barely in it. In her two scenes, comprising seven pages, she’s not even the primary character. Her first scene is much more about Persephone and her screwed up situation, and her second scene is just Hades going on about making sure she loves him. Wonder Woman doesn’t do anything in the issue except powder herself and ride an undead horse. To be fair, no one else actually does anything either. But the book is called Wonder Woman. I don’t think it’s out of line to expect Wonder Woman to be doing something in such a publication.
So Strife is back and it was freaky all around, but we’re going to have to wait until next issue for anything to happen. Hopefully Wonder Woman can pass the test and escape, or fail the test and bust out of Hell triumphantly. Whatever goes down, I just hope that Wonder Woman does something other than wear a freaky dress.