Wonder Woman #18 Review OR Wonder Woman Plays A Minor Role In Some Big Story Resolution


Something finally happened in Wonder Woman #18, which is a very nice change of pace.  Wonder Woman’s been looking for Zola’s baby since August, and now she’s finally got him back with his mother after months of what felt to me like a rather slow moving story.  So that’s good.  However, I’m of two minds on the execution.  We’ll get into it all momentarily, but first:


Every twist and turn in this issue will be SPOILED if you read any further!!


Okay, back to the book.  Let’s start with the callback to Orion slapping Wonder Woman on the rear last month, as it’s a good example of my general two-mindedness on this book.  Orion reveals that the slap was in fact a ruse to he could get some of Wonder Woman’s DNA and thus track her to Demeter’s lair in case Ares pulled something:


In an interview with Newsarama’s Vaneta Rogers, Azzarello said that the slap was intentionally offensive and unresolved (ie. Wonder Woman didn’t retaliate) so as readers would remember it when the next issue came out.

It’s an interesting tactic, to be sure, and we can read it two ways.  First, Azzarello came up with a clever way for readers to remember an important plot point.  He was screwing with us, knowing everyone would get up in arms about it.  Second, it was kind of a cheap way to make us remember it.  Orion touching Wonder Woman so as to have her DNA could have been emphasized in any number of memorable ways, but Azzarello went with the ass slap.  Even as an elaborate ruse, Wonder Woman was still offensively touched in an unwanted way.  So which reading do we focus on?

Before we get to that, let’s look at a dual reading of this issue more broadly.  On the one hand, Wonder Woman and her team defeat Hermes and Demeter and rescue Zola’s baby, the task they’ve been working towards for months now.  Zola and her baby are reunited, and the issue ends with a very nice, heartwarming shot of the whole family sitting together.  Chiang does a great job with the page, and it’s lovely all around:


On the other hand, Wonder Woman is the least effective part of this rescue.  She and Hermes are going toe to toe, and they’re very evenly matched.  But Hermes has the advantage of speed, and it’s not until Orion swoops in to save her that she has the means to slow down Hermes with a well placed sword stroke (Hermes is having the worst luck with leg injuries in this series).  While Wonder Woman distracts Hermes, Ares is the one who actually rescues Zola’s baby.  Wonder Woman is a diversion at best.  Orion’s speed and Ares’ sneakiness are what really save the baby.

Furthermore, Wonder Woman is entirely in the dark about what’s going on.  Unbeknownst to her, Orion tracked her to come save her bacon.  Then, when she learns that Ares has left with the baby, she’s distraught because she thinks Ares has stolen the baby for his own nefarious purposes.  She’s completely surprised to see that Ares has brought the baby back to Zola on his own.  Here’s Wonder Woman freaking out after she learns that Ares has taken the baby from Demeter:


So are we glad that something finally happened and that Zola got her baby back, or are we annoyed that Wonder Woman was outshone by the men and completely unaware of what was actually happening?  It’s a little bit of both for me… things are rarely all that cut and dry.  I’m glad this story finally got resolved, and the last couple pages were great.  That being said, though, we’ve got yet ANOTHER issue where Wonder Woman is in the dark about some important things AND basically plays a background role in the actual goings on.  It’s getting really old.

While Wonder Woman is in the book more than usual, it’s in the context of another confrontation where her opponent talks shit about her.  This has been a common occurrence.  Wonder Woman doesn’t just fight people, she fights while getting harangued by her opponent the entire time.  I know she’s Wonder Woman and she can take it, but she’s WONDER WOMAN.  She doesn’t need to be perpetually behind the eight ball and talked down to every issue.  Do you know what people say when they fight Batman?  They say “Oh shit, it’s Batman!!” and try to run.  Even when he’s up against a bigger villain smack talking him, there’s usually a begrudging respect for Batman’s skill.  Perhaps because he can take down bad guys by himself, while Wonder Woman always needs help.

It would just be nice for Wonder Woman to be straight up awesome for an issue.  No getting duped, no help, just kicking ass and maybe even duping someone else.  Wonder Woman is smart and impressive, so I would really enjoy reading a comic where she got to be smart and impressive.  This constantly getting the rug pulled out from under her and such is driving me batty.

So ultimately, some things got resolved in this issue, which is nice, but it was the same old when it came to Wonder Woman.  I know the gods are all tricksy and powerful opponents, but I really miss the heroine from Wonder Woman #1 who busted up the centaurs, saved Zola, and was generally bad ass and cool.  It’s been downhill for her since then.

Elsewhere in the book this month, the First Born battled with Poseidon, and it looks like the First Born and his pal Cassandra both ended up swallowed by Poseidon.  Next month could be a Jonah and the whale adventure!!  If I were a giant fish creature, I would not want the First Born in my belly.  That dude is rough stuff.  It’s going to get unpleasant in there.

On the art side, the book did seem a little bit rushed this month, with three different art teams doing various sections, but overall I think it turned out a bit better than last month.  It looks like Matthew Wilson had a little more time to smooth out the colouring, which helped the look of the book a lot, and generally things felt a lot less roughed in on this issue.  Plus we got three pages of Cliff Chiang, which is always fun.  Hopefully we’ll see more of him next month.

Overall, I’m very glad that the baby searching story has been resolved and the ending was very nice and heartwarming, but the characterization and treatment of Wonder Woman still gets on my nerves.  They’re not doing anything egregious with her, but seeing the same annoying little things over and over with nothing else to counteract them is getting old.


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7 Responses to “Wonder Woman #18 Review OR Wonder Woman Plays A Minor Role In Some Big Story Resolution”

  1. Titong Says:

    So that’s what Azzarello intended, that rear-end slapping. Not surprised, since earlier on and somewhat as an old reader, I’ve thought, at times, that he seems to intentionally rile/tease fans. I trust him completely as a storyteller though, so I just go along for the ride.

    Still, just for that last panel, I’d consider this the bestest issue. Very lovely indeed. 🙂 Orion is quite amusing. He’s a more interesting match for Diana than Superman. And with Zola owing Ares (who made a tactical and shrewd move), she does seem likely to betray WW later on. I liked that, again, Diana’s altruism shows, as Demeter says.

    Another enjoyable review, like always. Cheers!

    • Tim Hanley Says:

      The solicits suggest some further betrayals down the road, so I doubt the current peace will last for long. But that last panel was pretty fantastic.

  2. Your Senior Drill Instructor Says:

    As I said a couple of days ago, I think Azz may be having to work around these line-wide crossovers and he has to resolve certain things differently than he wants to, so I’m willing to cut him some slack. Its great to see him back making the rounds and promoting the book. And looking at the previews for issue #19, it looks like Diana is going to get some payback for that butt slap. 🙂

    I’d also like to see some closure to this situation with Hermes. Who exactly charged him with protecting the baby? Why didn’t he just tell Diana and Zola that the baby would be safer in Demeter’s lair? If his heart was in the right place, would the two of them be willing to forgive him?

    Also, in a related matter, James Robinson recently suggested that there’s only one Apokolips and one New Genesis in the entire multiverse — meaning only one Darkseid, one Orion, one High Father etc. That could be an interesting set up going forward.

    • Tim Hanley Says:

      It’s interesting that Wonder Woman has been such a self-contained book, yet the New Gods are popping up here and there and she’s got this relationship with Superman now. It feels like the little bubble of the DCU that Azzarello and Chiang have created for themselves is going to inevitably pop soon, and the self-containedness of the book might end.

  3. IronBerserk Says:

    Great review as usual. I agree with pretty much everything you wrote.

    The only good that came out of all these being left in the dark moments is that WW’s trusting in someone finally paid off. After many issues of her getting screwed left and right, her constant trust in the good within people finally worked. So that was nice to see.

    But yeah, I want WW kicking ass sometime soon. An epic battle between her and the first born maybe? Come on Azz, give us something! 😛 LOL

    • Tim Hanley Says:

      I’m cautiously optimistic about the First Born storyline. Maybe these months of Wonder Woman not doing a whole lot were just screwing with our expectations and she’ll win an epic battle against the First Born, on her own, with no betrayals or rugs getting pulled out from under her.

  4. charles lott Says:

    I think the whole issue was good! I’m glad they found the baby!! Nice scene with everyone in the living room with the baby. I for one wanted to see Wonder woman and Superman in a relationship, but I’ve been very disappointed in the way they have handled the relationship. It started out well, the way they got together, their first kiss, the breakfast in Superman’s hometown and superman showing Wonder Woman the farm. But they really haven’t done anything since!! I mean two kisses a breakfast and a couple of dinners they didn’t get to enjoy!! That a relationship!!

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