DOUBLE REVIEW: Wonder Woman #30 & Batman And Wonder Woman #30 OR Dysfunctional Amazons


Both Wonder Woman #30 and Batman and Wonder Woman #30 came out today, and on the surface they seem like very different books. In Wonder Woman, the reign of the First Born is underway and Wonder Woman is trying to rally her supporters to defeat him, while in Batman and Wonder Woman, Batman has landed on the shores of Paradise Island chasing Ra’s al Ghul and Damian’s body. The common thread through both of these books is Wonder Woman and the Amazons and how they don’t get along, continuing the unpleasant characterization of the Amazons we’ve seen since the New 52 began. It’s an Amazon-centric review this month, but first:


I am not spoiling one but TWO comic books today!

If you haven’t read either, turn away!

Carrying on, I find it odd that while the New 52’s depiction of Wonder Woman has been all over the place (the Wonder Woman of Wonder Woman and the Wonder Woman of Justice League or Superman/Wonder Woman seem like very different characters), the new universe has been rather cohesive in their harsh portrayal of the Amazons. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that the New 52 has so embraced the degradation of these former symbols of female empowerment; the New 52’s track record with female characters generally is not so great. Nonetheless, it’s disheartening.

Wonder Woman #29 ended with Wonder Woman rallying her newly freed Amazon sisters, and I thought we might have turned a corner on the Amazons past disdain for Diana. The early issues of the series cast the Amazons as a sniping, spiteful group who never liked Diana and put her down at every turn. Aleka was the spokesperson for this sentiment, and clearly had no affection for Diana whatsoever.

In Wonder Woman #30, Wonder Woman’s rallying cry didn’t seem to take, and Aleka again represented the opposition. She questioned Wonder Woman’s choice of companions, her fitness to be queen, and stirred up talk of rebellion amongst her sisters (aided by what appeared to be an undercover Strife). When Wonder Woman tried to unite the Amazons in a vow to protect Zeke, Aleka and her cohorts shouted her down.

Aleka was front and center in Batman and Wonder Woman #30 as well, holding a sword to Batman’s throat and refusing him entry to the island even though, or perhaps maybe because, Wonder Woman vouched for him. Wonder Woman and Aleka ended up fighting over the matter, trading blows before Batman yelled at them to stop.

Later in the issue, there was a flashback to one of the Amazons’ regular raping and murdering ship hijackings. The attack was depicted in gruesome detail, and ended with the Amazons burning the ship on the shore of Paradise Island and celebrating their conquest.

Thus far in the New 52, the Amazons have absolutely no redeeming qualities. They’re rapists and murderers who revel in their brutality, which is just awful, and despite orchestrating these attacks with some frequency, they seem wholly incapable of working together to do anything else. All of their interactions are laced with conflict and animosity, and usually end in violence. They’re terrible people, and worst of all their depiction suggests that Wonder Woman is a kind and brave hero DESPITE the Amazons and not BECAUSE of them.

I’ve talked about this several times in the past, so I’ll spare you the full spiel, but for seven decades the Amazons were a peaceful, wise nation, and Wonder Woman grew up to be a great hero due largely to their positive influence. They taught her everything she knew, raised her to be led by love above all else, and always rallied behind her when she needed them. The Amazons were a rare bastion of female power and solidarity in a genre so dominated by men.

Today, Wonder Woman is who she is because she got superpowers from her father, Zeus, and training from Ares, the god of war, whose mantle she’s now inherited. Wonder Woman #0 implied that she even learned her compassion from Ares, when he spared her during a sword battle. On top of this all-male influence, her Amazons sisters never supported her and now reject her even though she is their rightful queen with Hippolyta still out of commission.

I’m not at all against the idea of dissention and discord among the Amazons. Utopias can be kind of boring, and differing opinions and factions could lead to some very interesting stories for the Amazon and add some colour and variety to Paradise Island. What I am against is turning a group of noble, powerful women into vicious, spiteful villains for no good reason, and then spreading this depiction through the wider comics universe. None of the changes have been at all necessary or particularly important to the story, and what little they’ve added to the narrative is nothing compared to how much they’ve devalued the Amazons. It’s just ridiculous.

Anyway, that is my Amazon rant, inspired by reading two unpleasant depictions of the Amazons back to back. Let’s quickly go through what else happened in these issues. In Wonder Woman #30, Hades contemplated his potential role in the war for too long and the First Born made a move against him instead, so that’s probably not going to end well for Hades. Speaking of the First Born, he remains gross and burnt up, plus he made Cassandra eat part of her former associate, Cheever, which was super gross. So yeah, forced cannibalism. Comics: They’re not for kids anymore!

In Batman and Wonder Woman #30, Batman almost got Damian back but not quite. I suspect this sort of thing will go on for a while until Damian returns this summer, if the rumours prove to be true. Also, Wonder Woman freed a dark creature that Zeus had imprisoned to guard a Lazarus Pit on Paradise Island, which was a nice moment for her. I like when she tries to help people instead of fighting them, perhaps because it’s so rare these days.

All told, I was pretty excited for a double dose of Wonder Woman this week but the result was a rant, so clearly my excitement didn’t last. I just don’t understand the decisions that are being made in regards to Wonder Woman, from the Amazons to the Superman relationship to pretty much everything else. They just don’t seem to get her and her mythos, at all.


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24 Responses to “DOUBLE REVIEW: Wonder Woman #30 & Batman And Wonder Woman #30 OR Dysfunctional Amazons”

  1. Popper Most Says:

    also by my calculation Wonder Woman lost 17 battles and won 3 in the new 52, her success ratio stands at 15% and she’s yet to beat a man. I may sound shallow but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to enjoy a character that’s essentially a loser and kind of stupid across the board as well

    • Truthsayer Says:

      Winning fights does not equal accomplishing goals. If you read carefully, you’d realized that Diana sometimes did not win on purpose to serve her strategy. Sounds like you’re more interested in Geoff John’s warrior version of Diana.

      • Popper Most Says:

        you talk a lot of rubbish for a truth sayer if you don’t mind me saying. There’s obviously something tremendously off putting about seeing your favorite superhero lose over and over again, especially when that hero’s been proclaimed the most powerful female in the dcu. I demand higher performance levels from the champion of Women. 15% is embarrassing and ultimately it’s the sexism behind Wonder Woman’s tendency to lose that preoccupies me. Meanwhile, the strongest man learns brain surgery in 10 minutes and pummels a whole phalanx of green lanterns without breaking a sweat. I want the same kind of treatment for Wonder Woman, I want Darkseid to dread WW as much as he does Superman.

  2. cc Says:

    What are you talking about? Aleka TRIED to talk Diana down (Due to Strife using her powers of getting people mad at eachother) but Diana set her foot down and gave it a kick up it’s behind.

    And for the loving GOD NO, Diana did not learn mercy from Ares, it’s so much the other way around as it can become. Ares even saying this out loud in 23 before dying…

    And Diana certainly won more than 3 fights, and also against men during this run…

    • Popper Most Says:

      such as? Apollo could’ve killed her but chose not to, Orion saved her from Hermes and she hasn’t been able to beat FB and I suspect she won’t do that on her own.

      • cc Says:

        From what I can remember without having any of the issues with me at the moment

        #1. Two monsters
        #5. More monsters
        #7. A lava monster
        #8. A bunch of monsters in hell
        #10. Monsters and Hades (with love)
        #12 Moon
        #0 The minotaur and War (who she inspired mercy, not the other way around…)
        #13 Soldiers
        #14 Sirraca
        # 18 Hermes (even if riding with Orion)
        #19 Orion
        # 20 Moon
        # 22 Highfather (by her influence over Orion)
        # 23 First Born and his kids
        # 24 First born’s kids and Cassandras soldiers
        # 25-28 Moon again, more of FBs kids and Cass soldiers

        Something like that. And even she is assisted at times, she makes a point out of that in #22 that people help each other all the time, and I can’t see the problem in that. It’s a lot more interesting than superman flying around solo and flexing his abs. Diana is flexing her mind instead.

        But if you mean “winning” by total K/O or death. Then Diana isn’t the character you’re looking for.

      • Popper Most Says:

        that list is so bullshit. she beat Highfather how? War was holding back obviously and the minotaur is not a challenging enemy. I mean Wonder Woman is literally incapable of beating powerful male adversaries and no of course I don’t like seeing my favorite heroine trashed every time she runs into a man. Diana is a loser so perhaps she’s not the character I’m looking for indeed. I should seek another and leave you to enjoy all this losing. People like you are the reason why Wonder Woman never will be rehabilitated, you celebrate the sexist shit they throw at you.

      • IronBerserk Says:

        Relax, there is nothing sexist about this series…unless your talking about that Orion butt slap…but Orion is just a sexist character anyways so its not really creators being sexist 😛 As for the fights and the amount of “wins”, its arguable. But you also got to remember that Wonder Woman kind of needs to lose sometimes so that the plot could, you know, move forward. She needs to have adversaries and obstacles. Without them, this series would be boring and quite formulaic…like most comic book series. New threat, beat it up and win. New threat, beat it up and win.

        Strong obstacles =/= sexist.

      • Popper Most Says:

        @IronBerserk, There’s something sexist about how the Amazons are portrayed as barbaric backward bitches who haven’t progressed in 3000 years, about the way Zola is basically white trash. Wonder Woman’s got the IQ of a 10 year old, Artemis is her male twin’s sidekick and the only God who Diana’s able to in a 1o1 fight. Hera is the most complete bimbo and the seat of power very much belongs to the men in the family. I’ve enjoyed this run because Chiang makes everything look pretty, I like her new support cast and origin but you can kind of tell Azz doesn’t think very highly of women. It’s okay that Wonder Woman loses for enemies that’s she’ll eventually overcome but i suspect she won’t beat the FB on her own.

      • IronBerserk Says:

        @Popper Most
        I’m no fan of the depiction of the Amazons in this series. Check out my first post underneath for proof of that 😛 But most of the Greek Pantheon in this series is barbaric including all the men gods…especially the men gods! Torture, cannibalism, murder, etc… So yeah, all Greek related myths in this series are not looked at in a “civilized” way. Diana is probably the most moral person in the entire series at the moment. So yeah, still not seeing the “sexist” side of things. Everyone is a douchebag. LMAO

        As for her beating the First Born 1o1…not sure about that one. Isn’t the reason she is getting an army at the moment is because she CAN’T beat him 1o1? He’s the ruler of Olympus and quite overpowered. We’ll have to wait and see.

    • Truthsayer Says:

      There’s no point in trying to argue with neophobic fans who have entrenched views that automatically think different is bad. I’m just glad that there’s a large amount of people who realize how good this run is.

      • IronBerserk Says:

        You are a victim of cognitive dissonance. In other words, instead of getting mad at the dude who has a different opinion from you, why don’t you trying arguing and proving your point with examples? He asked you who exactly Diana won against in this run, whether it be physically or mentally. Which men exactly? I’ll give you one, the minotaur. Not exactly a “man” but definitely of the male gender. Here’s another one, Hades. Definitely a dude she technically beat and outsmarted. What others?

        No need to get so angry, all friends here…friends who argue but friends none the less 😛 lol

  3. Brian Says:

    I remember when Spider-Man had so many titles back in the 80s and 90s. Web Of, Spectacular, Marvel Team-Up, Amazing, Spider-Man and how cohesive and consistent he was as a character across all of those titles. Now it seems like characters with multiple titles or appearing in multiple titles are written with an anything goes attitude, like the writers are saying “well, this is a DIFFERENT title so I can write her how I want” or whatever. This isn’t just a problem with Wonder Woman(although she is definitely written the most inconsistently) but with most characters at DC. Marvel does it sometimes as well, but they seem more dedicated to consistency than DC does.

  4. IronBerserk Says:

    I personally wasn’t much a fan of this issue either. The ending and the First Born scenes in general were cool though 😛

    Wonder Woman has been very inconsistent even in her own series. She’s a person who loves everyone but yet does acts of revenge against those that have wronged her…and I still haven’t gotten over the fact that she killed Ares. As for the Amazons…yeah it sucks. I’m not against the idea of the Amazons having a flaw, but this is just ridiculous.

    Here’s to hoping that the ending is good at least.

  5. bob Says:

    read bm/ww. the art wasn’t good, and the amazons/their history is still problematic, but the issue was a pretty decent story. in the next reboot, if batman were to loose some continuity baggage and wonder woman were to get a better origin and history, i would definitely read a team up book about them. the characters have good chemistry, and they could have really interesting stories.

  6. cc Says:

    Popper Most: If you read the issue you’ll find that Highfather wanted for Zeke to stay in New Genesis (probably to kill him), but Diana’s influence over Orion (who was but a sad dog obeying his master/father) helped him to do good.

    And she did win over Ares. When he asked her why she didn’t strike the minotaur down she reminded him of the mercy he showed her on the mountain.

    She also won over Ares in the Perez run this way. Pretty much the same way Luke won over Vader in Star Wars (with his mind, without striking him down).

    Azzarello even said that if he got the way he wanted, there wouldn’t be any fights at all in the book. He wants her strength to be her heart, not her muscles. And he definitely thinks quite highly of women. Not only often having prominent ones as main characters but WW#30 has made the book to enter meta story territory about various things about feminism. The amazons saying they’re not a collective mind, Hera saying that barriers must be removed, advocating separatism to help the women cause and so on.

    But if stuff like this escapes you while reading the book, perhaps the next WW writer can write you a WWF-esque saga where Diana is all about beating up people without any afterthought. Perhaps getting some cool boyfriend with a good muscle build.

    • Popper Most Says:

      Im sorry I can’t take you seriously. How does someone equate that with “defeating Highfather”, it’s beyond me. I appreciate that her new superpower is the ability to rehabilitate people, that’s cute, she’s pretty much a Naruto knock off and Naruto is pretty much famous for his Messiah-like persuasion which was cute in the beginning but not so much now.
      “Azzarello even said that if he got the way he wanted, there wouldn’t be any fights at all in the book. He wants her strength to be her heart, not her muscles. ”
      yeah that’s sexism. For some fucked up reason creators find all sorts of creative excuses to shrink her powers as though while Superman is glorified to the most absolute extreme. It’s disgusting.

      • cc Says:

        Okay then, –don’t.

        Thing is, it’s one of the core concepts of the character, and has pretty much been since Marston started writing her. Her being a messenger of peace, sometimes naiv but always strong at heart.

        Never read Naruto, so I have no idea other than Diana definitely did her thing before him.

        I’v never met a person who thinks Superman is a good character. Only that he’s boring, empty underneath the “perfection”. An alien who’s only flaw is that he’s boring.

        But as said, hope you’ll get yourself a better book with next writer. Hopefully writing Wonder Woman having as exciting muscle powers as Superman has.

      • cc Says:

        *Hopefully giving Wonder Woman as exciting muscle powers as Superman’s.

      • Popper Most Says:

        yet Superman is a far more popular character than Wonder Woman. I’m pretty sure some people are embarrassed to admit they like the wham bang thank you ma’am because the hoi polloi developed this notion that characters like Superman are for simpletons and douchebags. So yeah I’m pretty much want my Wonder Woman to be powerful and beat the boys. That’s all I love her for. Kindness is everywhere in the comic universe.

  7. bob Says:

    …what the hell was this conversation…

  8. Rhllor Says:

    the idea was to show the Amazons by Greeks of the Bronze Age that are supposedly

  9. In My Not So Humble Opinion: the Writings and Ramblings of Ben Herman Says:

    I appear to have been enjoying Azzarello & Chiang’s run on Wonder Woman somewhat more than you. Yes, the re-envisioning of the Amazons as man-hating rapists & murderers was definitely jarring at first. But I feel it fits in with what Azzarello was doing, basically taking everything back to the uncensored versions of the original Greek myths, where both the gods and humans were deeply flawed & violent. And it also makes Diana’s mission of an “envoy of peace” a multi-faceted one. She must work to bring reconciliation & equality between the genders not only to “Man’s World” but also to her homeland of Themyscira.

    But, yes, I can certainly understand why you disagree, and you articulate your reasons very well.

    In any case, here is a link to my write-up on WW #24-29. I plan to do a follow-up once Azzarello & Chiang’s storyline wraps up in a few months.

    • Tim Hanley Says:

      I enjoyed your review! While I have my qualms with certain aspects of the book, it’s a solid series and I can totally understand why so many people like it so much. For me, the big changes to the Amazons and a few other things undercut the enjoyability somewhat, largely because they’ve seemed rather unnecessary thus far, but it’s still a good story and Chiang is amazing. Let me know when you review the rest of the run!

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