Based on the preview for Wonder Woman #10 that came out a few days ago, this looked like it was going to be a pretty kick ass issue. Wonder Woman was done with Hades’ weird marriage games and was about to bust out of Hell and ride her undead horse to freedom. So after I read the preview, I was pretty jazzed to read the rest of the issue today. Unfortunately, it turned out to be SUPER lame. I’ll elaborate momentarily, but first…
LOTS OF THEM!!
I’m going to spoil every single thing that happened in this book, so if you haven’t read it then please look away.
Once you’ve read it, you can’t unread it and the book will be forever ruined.
So SPOILERS, okay?
Carrying on, when we last left our intrepid heroine in Wonder Woman #9 she was about to marry Hades but first had to submit to an unusual test. Unconvinced that she actually loved him, Hades had Wonder Woman tied up in her lasso, hangman’s noose style. Because the lasso makes you tell the truth, if she said she loved him then hooray they’d get married. If she couldn’t, then she’d be hanged. Not a bad cliffhanger really.
In this issue, Wonder Woman successfully says she loves Hades and the two are about to be wed, but Hades’ need for proof doesn’t sit right with her so she takes off, Runaway Bride style. This is followed by some cool pages where Wonder Woman flees through Hell, with Hades’ voice following her at every turn until he finally catches up to her in the guise of a wave of blood that then takes corporeal form as a giant skinless beast that tries to eat her. Luckily, Strife helps her out, and the battle then turns from creepy epic monsters to heartfelt conversation. And it’s SO lame, you guys.
First off, it turns out that Wonder Woman could say she loves Hades because her heart is so big and her affection for the entirety of creation is so all-encompassing that:
So she got out of the lasso trick on a technicality. She doesn’t LOVE love Hades… she loves him like she loves any other random person in the universe because she’s just that kind of girl.
But what about Eros’ love bullets? Why isn’t Wonder Woman madly in LOVE love with Hades? Well, it turns out that the fault isn’t with Wonder Woman, but with Hades himself:
Poor twisted, sadistic Hades just doesn’t love himself!! Awwwwwww. Poor little guy. Sure, he kidnapped a pregnant lady and trapped her in Hell, and sure, his weird harpies were fixing to kill anything that stood in their way, and sure, his entire realm is made of TORTURED SOULS, but let’s all feel bad for the little god with low self-esteem.
And then EVERYBODY talks about love. Hephaestus is sad that the gods don’t love each other even though they’re family, and he tells his son Eros that he loves him more than the vain boy could ever love himself. Wonder Woman again tells Hades that she loves him, reaching out tenderly to touch the sad little god, but he can’t handle that kind of affection and tells them to leave Hell. Again, poor Hades… he doesn’t even know how to accept love!!
Oh, but they fix this. Hephaestus gave Hades a mirror as a wedding gift, and just as he looks at his own reflection, Wonder Woman shoots him straight through the heart with Eros’ love gun. Now Hades can love himself!! What a beautiful ending!!
So yeah, LAME. And bizarre. Just structurally, the abrupt turnaround from busting out of Hell and fleeing a sentient river of blood to an after school special level discussion about how it’s important to love yourself ground the book to a halt. This Hell storyline already feels like it’s been going on for ages, and then this last bit made it feel even slower.
And it’s BRIAN AZZARELLO!! Have you ever read any other Brian Azzarello books? I’m pretty sure he’s never EVER written a character who loved themselves. They’re always really dark, screwed up people, and that’s why they’re interesting. Imagine 100 Bullets if there were speeches about how you need to love yourself!! I know Wonder Woman isn’t 100 Bullets, but Azzarello’s turned the series into a pretty dark and weird horror book. All this love talk just feels really out of place when the book’s been wall to wall hatred and rage simmering below the surface since the relaunch.
The book was so odd to me that I almost feel like I’m missing something. Maybe Azzarello was being ironic, and all the love talk was supposed to juxtapose with the giant, skinless monster and be sort of amusing. Maybe this was yet ANOTHER case of Wonder Woman being ridiculously naïve. Perhaps the scene at the end where Hades takes a love bullet while gazing at himself is meant to suggest that Hades is tragically incapable of loving himself without some sort of artificial assistance, that his hatred and self-loathing and evilness are so deep and ingrained that on his own he could never crawl out of that abyss.
Or maybe it was just sort of a bad issue, and the Hell storyline didn’t really come together or accomplish much. What’s really happened since Zola got kidnapped, storywise? They got Zola to jump ahead near the end of her pregnancy, so I assume the baby’s coming soon. That’s productive. But what else? We learned that Wonder Woman loves everyone… that’s nothing new. We learned that Hades is an evil, loveless bugger. Also not new information. And we learned that the Amazons like to rape and murder dudes to get babies and that Hephaestus is an awesome adopted father. It’s new information, I suppose, but I’m not seeing its relevance to the overarching plot. There were some cool visuals, especially in Hell, and Kano and Tony Akins acquitted themselves decently here in Wonder Woman #10, but all of this feels like a long digression that didn’t accomplish a lot overall.
So yeah, this wasn’t my favourite issue. I feel like the book’s losing its sense of purpose. But maybe things will get back on track next issue… the solicit says that Apollo is making a play for the throne, so that should pick up the war of the gods story we’ve left hanging for a few issues. Plus it looks like Cliff Chiang is back!! Cliff Chiang always makes everything better. Let’s cross our fingers and hope things get moving again, and that there are fewer love-related speeches in Wonder Woman #11 next month.