Posts Tagged ‘Apollo’

Wonder Woman #28 Review OR Olympus Has Fallen

February 20, 2014

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This wasn’t a terribly eventful issue of Wonder Woman until the very last page, with the book consisting of just two fight scenes, but it was a fun read that built on the good things we saw last month.  While it’s only February, it feels like Azzarello is building towards the annual August finale already, though I’m sure there will be plenty of twists and turns before then.  Let’s talk about the issue, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to discuss ALL of the goings-on in this comic book!

Go read the issue first!

So we’ve got two fights that ultimately move the pieces around a bit.  The result of the first fight was Cassandra capturing Dionysus, and using him to gain entry into Mount Olympus while, unbeknownst to her, Wonder Woman grabbed onto the ship and tagged along for the ride.  They arrived at Mount Olympus just as the second fight reached its explosive conclusion.  It looked like the First Born had gained the upper hand over Apollo, withstanding his solar blasts and crushing him in a brutal bear hug, but Apollo had an ace up his sleeve and destroyed his skyscraper Mount Olympus, with himself and the First Born atop the roof, in a massive, fiery explosion.

There was a lot to like in both fight scenes, but let’s start with Cassandra and her minotaur in France.  First, I liked the twist that Cassandra was actually after Dionysus and that Zola and Zeke happened to be there was just coincidence.  We’ve had two and a half years of everyone chasing after Zeke, so we’re used to him as a target, but Cassandra didn’t even seem aware he was there.  That was a nice misdirect, and a speedy resolution to Zola’s runaway sideplot as she’s already back in the vicinity of her team.

Speaking of the team, they’re still together!  No one betrayed Wonder Woman!  That’s very nice to see.  I’m glad that the team is effective and working well together, and I really like the lineup.  Artemis is useful addition, with her fighting skills and tracking prowess, but she’s also a lot of fun.  She’s always spoiling for a fight, has cool weapons like her moonerangs, and Matthew Wilson colours her so beautifully.  I love the blues he uses, and how her moonlike glow lights up every panel she’s in.  Even in bright light, Wilson captures a slight lumosity with Artemis.  His work with the character is quite stunning all around.

If you’ve read my reviews before, you know that Hermes is my favourite character, and this panel of him catching a spear in his talon while Wonder Woman deflects a spray of bullets is an absolute blast:

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Wonder Woman, Hermes, and Artemis have a great dynamic in the fight scenes, and when they’re not fighting they also have Hera to add some comic relief and make for some enjoyable exchanges.

There was also a heroic moment for Zola after the minotaur captured Dionysus.  She was safe and could have left, but she decided to go after Dio:

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Later in the issue, we see her near the ramp to Cassandra’s ship and, since she doesn’t show up after that, I assume that she and Zeke sneaked onto the ship to try to help Dionysus.  Zola’s been running since the series began, as she should, considering she’s got a baby to protect.  But she’s also been hanging out with heroes, and it’s starting to rub off on her.  She doesn’t want to just be a damsel in distress anymore, nor does she need to be; Zeke is just a baby, but he’s also quite a weapon when push comes to shove.

Over on Mount Olympus, the First Born sure took a beating but the First Born is nothing if not used to perpetual pain and misery.  There was a classic Azzarello piece of dialogue when Apollo couldn’t understand why his fiery blasts weren’t stopping the First Born, and the First Born replied, “My hate burns hotter than a thousand sons.”  The First Born’s rampage is all about his daddy issues, and the son/sun exchange underscored that nicely without having to rehash the entire story.

It was a well crafted fight, and Chiang and Wilson did an excellent job depicting the increasingly charred First Born.  Wilson also did a fantastic job colouring Apollo, who transitioned from a white hot glow to increasingly dark shades of orange as he blasts at the First Born and depletes his solar energy.  The changes are subtle and gradual, and are characteristic of the care that Wilson puts into his colouring in every issue of Wonder Woman.

Jared K. Fletcher had a strong issue lettering as well.  Fight scenes mean a lot of sound effects, and Fletcher did a great job communicating the action with sound effects that capture each punch, shot, and block without being obtrusive or impeding the flow of the story.  Letterers have a thankless job; when they’re at their best, they blend in so perfectly that you don’t notice them, and Fletcher did just that in a sound-heavy issue.

All together, this was a solid, albeit quick, issue of Wonder Woman.  The destruction of Olympus might have some big repercussions, depending on who survives the blast and how soon it is restored.  If Apollo is dead and the First Born survives and captures the throne, that would create a whole new dynamic where the rest of the gods, including Wonder Woman, would have to team up to depose him; that could be fun.  While the issue itself was just a couple of well put together fights, the ramifications of these fights could have some huge implications for the book moving forward.  I’m excited to see what happens next.

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Superman/Wonder Woman #2 Review OR Not A Lot Of Bang For Your Buck

November 13, 2013

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I was hoping that having some of the Greek gods show up might make this issue more enjoyable than the first, but this felt like a lot of filler until the very last page when something actually happened.  Nothing of any real significance occurred in the 20 pages before that.  It’s only the second issue; they shouldn’t have run out of plot yet.  I’ll have more on the emptiness of this issue momentarily, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to ruin EVERYTHING that happens in this comic book!

Granted, it’s not a lot, but still!

Read it yourself first!

So we picked up where we left off, with Wonder Woman fighting Doomsday.  He beats her up for a bit and then disappears when Superman shows up.  Wonder Woman and Superman then visit the Fortress of Solitude to talk about the Phantom Zone and Doomsday, and Wonder Woman gives the Man of Steel a pep talk about how he can defeat that evil beast.  Because he’s so strong in so many ways; that is the theme of this issue, really.

As a sidenote, did Doomsday kill Superman in the New 52 universe?  The conversation he had with Wonder Woman was ridiculously vague.  I had no idea what sort of history Superman had with Doomsday, but Superman dying is a big deal.  If it had happened, Wonder Woman’s reaction probably would have been “Oh look, it’s that big creature who killed you” instead of “Hey, who’s that?”

Carrying on, the duo visits Hephaestus so Superman can get some armour to protect him if Doomsday comes back.  Hephaestus tests Superman strength by swinging his hammer at him, which Superman stops with ease.  See?  He’s so strong.  Then Apollo and Strife pop in, make some disparaging comments about Superman, and Wonder Woman’s taste in men, and then THEY fight.  And because Apollo is the sun, Superman gets turbo charged and tosses Apollo through the mountain.  Because, as you may recall, Superman is very, very strong.  Strife and Diana are all hot and bothered by this masculine display, and thus ends the main story of this issue.

Seriously, that’s it.  Oh, and a page with Cat Grant, trying to call Clark.

Then, in the last three pages of the book, there’s a disturbance in the Sahara Desert and General Zod appears, all red-eyed, blood-soaked, and furious.  I’m assuming that he will soon fight with Superman, which should be a good battle because, and I don’t know if you know this, Superman is quite strong.

Wonder Woman does nothing in this issue except get beat up by Doomsday, cheer up her boyfriend, and take him to visit her family.  Superman, on the other hand, lifts a massive navy ship and beats the hell out of the king of the gods.  I’m not sure why Wonder Woman is in this book, other than that she’s into big dudes who can beat up other dudes.  That they are both superheroes is the only thing they have in common and the entire basis of their relationship, so I suppose it’s good for them that she likes his assertive displays of power.   Lord knows they’ve got nothing else going for them other than dull, awkward conversing.

So the book wasn’t great.  It was kind of bad, really, both because a) nothing important happened until the end, and b) what did happen was dominant displays of aggression by Superman while Wonder Woman looked on and swooned dreamily.  Also, that big thing that happened at the end?  We knew it was coming from the solicits AND even if you didn’t, if you had a decent knowledge of Superman lore you probably guessed it was coming once the Phantom Zone was mentioned.  It was not a surprising reveal.  I mean, Man of Steel is out on Blu Ray this week.  Come on.

On top of these story (or lack thereof) issues, there was another problem: I read this book in about three minutes.  Part of the reason nothing happened in this book is because it’s such a quick read.  I mentioned in my review of the first issue that Tony S. Daniels was a little bit heavy with splashs and two page spreads, but he takes it to a whole new level here.  A full THIRTEEN of the book’s twenty pages contain three panels or less.  That doesn’t give you a lot of space for things to happen.  Wonder Woman gets punched across a ship, two page spread.  Superman picks up said ship, there’s a page.  Superman catches a hammer, full page for that.  Superman punches Apollo, better use up a whole page there.  ZOD!  Full page reveal, following a two page spread that exists solely to set up that reveal (I don’t think those poor Bedouins will come up again).  I’m a little worried that the next issue is just going to be picture book style, one image per page with a bit of text.

This annoying misuse of comic book real estate is exacerbated by the fact that this book costs four dollars.  Wonder Woman is $2.99 for the same amount of pages, with a reasonable number of panels per page, while Superman/Wonder Woman is $3.99 with less story.  Let’s do a quick comparison on how much you pay per panel for the last issue of each series:

Wonder Woman #24: 128 panels at $2.99 =  2.3 cents per panel

Superman/Wonder Woman #2: 67 panels at $3.99 = 6 cents per panel

Not all panels are created equal, of course, but you’re getting way more bang for your buck out of Wonder Woman.  You’re paying almost three times as more per chunk of story with Superman/Wonder Woman, and for about half as many panels.  It’s not a good deal.

All in all, I think this might be the last Superman/Wonder Woman review for now.  I’m going to keep buying it because it has “Wonder Woman” in the title and I’m a sucker like that, and I might post a few thoughts each month if any are warranted, but there’s just not much to talk about so far.  If it gets better, and I very much hope it does, I’ll start back up with full reviews again, but until then I don’t think these reviews are fun for anyone.  I don’t want to complain for a thousand words, and you probably don’t want to read that.  So from here on out, we’ll be following the series in a much less in depth manner.  I just don’t care for it.

Wonder Woman #24 Review OR Setting Things Up For The Coming Year

October 17, 2013

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Now that we’re done with all the lenticular covered fun of Villains Month, Wonder Woman is back on track, picking up where we left off in August.  Ares is dead, the First Born is captured, and Diana is the new god of war.  With this new status quo now established, there’s lots to play out in the coming year, and Wonder Woman #24 sets up the major plotlines.  It’s an uneventful issue, really, and somewhat awkward with so many pieces being put into place, but so it goes with set-up issues.  Let’s chat about what happened, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

Everything that happened in this issue will be revealed!

Right after this warning, it will be spoiler city!

If you haven’t read the issue yet, stay away!

So let’s run through the threads this issue sets up for us.  The biggest one is Wonder Woman’s new status as the god of war, which she seems none too pleased about.  Apollo demands her presence at a meeting of the gods, and she’s very irritated to attend, half because Hermes was sent to bring her and half because of the intrusion into her day-to-day life.  She refuses to take Ares’ seat, and to participate at all unless Hera is re-instated as a god.  Apollo refuses, and Wonder Woman leaves in a huff.

This sets up one major plot: Apollo, through his oracles, knows a war is coming, and he decides that Olympus will face it without a god of war.  That may not be the best decision.  I’m curious to see what the war will be.  Things seem relatively settled among the gods themselves, so I think their opponent might be Cassandra and whatever she’s up to (more on that momentarily), particularly given her connection to the First Born.  He’s still alive, so you know he’ll get free and start some stuff at some point.  My second guess would be a war with New Genesis, since they seem like a militant bunch, but Orion isn’t even in this issue so it’s a distant second for me.

The other big plot to come out of Olympus is that Strife has sworn vengeance against Wonder Woman.  She’s planning to kill Wonder Woman and take the god of war mantle for herself.  We’ve seen Strife’s powers before, and they’re considerable, though now that Wonder Woman has tapped into her divine abilities AND is the god of war, she’ll be a formidable foe to take down.  And obviously, the book is called Wonder Woman so I doubt she’s going to die.  Strife is always fun, though, and it could be an entertaining rivalry.  Also, I’d love to see Strife as the god of war, through means other than Wonder Woman’s death.  Having her as an Olympian would add a chaotic dynamic to the mix.

Down on Earth, Cassandra obviously has some sort of plot on the go, and step one is capturing her brother, Milan.  He has the ability to see the future, so he’s a definite asset for any plan, nefarious or otherwise.  From what we know of Cassandra, she’s a bit of an unstable sadist, once forcing dozens of people to kill each other just for the fun of it.  Lennox pulled out her throat to prevent her from controlling people with her voice, and I don’t think we’ve seen any powers from her new mechanical throat, but my bet is that she’s definitely up to no good and is probably planning to spring the First Born and stick it to the Olympian gods.

Back in London, Diana, Zola, and Hera have found themselves a new apartment after their old one was blown up a few issues back.  I doubt a housewarming party of some sort will be a big plot point, but a considerable chunk of this issue was devoted to Hera and her lack of godhood.  Hera is still distraught about it, and Wonder Woman’s based her Olympian participation on her reinstatement, so I imagine this will be a recurring issue throughout the next year.

I’m also hoping that the rehabilitation of Hermes will be part of the book as well.  I loved Hermes during Wonder Woman’s first year, and wasn’t sad about him stealing Zeke so much as I was sad that he was in the book way less.  I understand why he did what he did, keeping the baby away from Hera, and he had been my favourite character since the book began.  I hope he gets to play a bigger role this year, and that he ends up part of Wonder Woman’s team again.

Hermes also played in a role in perpetuating some of Azzarello’s less enjoyable tendencies.  First, Wonder Woman only appeared in 11 of the book’s 20 pages.  On the one hand, there was a lot to set up in this issue, with a lot of different characters.  On the other hand, this happens ALL the time.  Wonder Woman is lucky to show up in half of her book on a regular basis.  I can’t think of another titular hero who so rarely graces the pages of their own series.

Second, we have yet another scene that makes Wonder Woman look bad.  I understand that Wonder Woman isn’t perfect, and that mistakes and imperfections make her human and help her grow, but it seems like there’s at least one scene per issue where she is tricked or outsmarted or smacked down by some harsh truth.  This time, it’s Hermes responding to Wonder Woman’s anger towards him.  She threatens him with swords, kicks him out of her apartment, and generally treats him with belligerence and fury in response to his calm, reasonable stance.  To Hermes, he was only protecting Zeke from Hera, fulfilling an oath he had sworn to Zeus, but Wonder Woman and Zola aren’t having any of it.  His response is rather damning:

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The annoying thing is, he’s 100% right.  Hera DESTROYED the Amazons.  Paradise Island is empty, except for snakes.  She also tried, repeatedly, to steal Zeke, fully intending to kill him when she did so.  But now they’re all pals, living together in London.  If Wonder Woman and Zola can get past all of that, surely they can have some mercy for Hermes.  That’s what so bothersome about the cutting remarks and verbal smackdowns Wonder Woman’s received during this run: They’re often rather accurate.  I don’t want a perfect Wonder Woman, but one who doesn’t need a man to reprimand her for her behavior or point out her hypocrisy every other issue would be nice.

All in all, it’s a set-up issue so not a lot happened.  I miss Cliff Chiang’s art because he always elevates the book, making a good story great and a meh, moving the pieces issue into something visually interesting at least.  Goran Sudzuka is fine, and I like his art better than Tony Akins so far, but he wasn’t given much to do in this issue apart from a lot of standing around and talking.  Things should pick up next month, though.  I hope Strife coming after Wonder Woman is the first arc because Strife always makes the book more fun.

Wonder Woman #23.2 First Born Review OR Some Interesting Background On The Big Bad

September 26, 2013

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While Wonder Woman #23.1 The Cheetah didn’t seem to have much to do with anything going on elsewhere in the DC universe, the similarly awkwardly named Wonder Woman #23.2 First Born digs deep into the character’s history and lets us understand some more about him and his motivations.  It’s not necessarily an essential piece of Azzarello’s bigger story but it does flesh out the First Born some more, along with giving us some hints of what’s to come.  We’ll get to all of that, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to ruin the ENTIRE issue for you!!

And if you’re a regular Wonder Woman reader, you should probably pick this one up!!

Read it for yourself first!!

I liked this issue, not because it was particularly revelatory but because I thought it was nicely put together.  Apollo using his oracles to tell the story of the First Born was a simple but effective plot device that allowed the art to really shine and communicate the story as well.  This was a good call; ACO did a fantastic job capturing the brutality of the First Born in a number of unusual and striking settings, using thick lines and strong shadows that were well balanced out by Matthew Wilson’s colours.  Everyone on the creative team did a great job this month, and the result was a book that looked great and told an interesting story.

The basic story we knew already: The First Born was literally the first born son of Zeus and Hera, cast out of Olympus and imprisoned by the gods deep within the Earth, but there was more to it than that.  Zeus was jealous of his son, worried he would usurp him after an ominous prophecy, and the boy was abandoned in the wild.  Raised by a pack of hyenas, the First Born continually tried to get the attention of the gods, conquering the whole world through mass slaughter to do so, but they never noticed him.  Finally he attacked Olympus himself, only to be beaten almost instantaneously by the combined power of his father and uncles.  He was locked away deep inside the bowels of the Earth, and would only be freed when Zeus ended his reign as king of the gods.

The First Born’s motivations aren’t the most nuanced.  The comic describes how he became a creature of hate, with the god’s continual spurning pushing him to act out in increasingly violent and evil ways.  Azzarello hasn’t done the greatest jobs with the motivations of his main characters, really; where Wonder Woman has her “I love everyone”, the First Born hates everyone.  The dichotomy is nice, and the big fight in Wonder Woman #23 did a good job of getting into that, but it’s a somewhat simplistic situation.  The First Born is understandably upset at the gods, and this hate festers over millennia, but the result is a villain who’s more an animal than a person, ruled by an overwhelming urge to destroy.  Yes, he’s clearly seeking validation, but his father isn’t even around to validate him anymore.  Should he win the throne of Olympus, the First Born would suddenly realize all his raging and destruction was for naught, as there’d be no one left to notice him.  That’s tragic in its own way, but again points to an unthinking force of nature more than a person.  He’s not reflecting on what he’s doing, he’s just doing it.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as far as villains go.  Obviously he’s super evil and Wonder Woman will have to inevitably take him down again, and that kind of single-minded motivation will make for an epic battle.  I’m hoping there’s an extra layer to the First Born that emerges now that he’s captured, though, some sort of humanity that extends beyond him being hate incarnate.  I thought there was a chance for that in Wonder Woman #21, when Hera tells him she loves him and she did what she did to save him, but the First Born just responded with hate-filled vitriol.  Perhaps now that he’s been humbled in defeat, he’ll have a slightly new perspective and there’ll be something more to him than hate.  We’ll have to see what happens.

The book ends with a new prophecy from Apollo’s oracles concerning a great battle between Apollo and the First Born where one will emerge victorious while the other is engulfed in flames.  There’s also a naked woman there, Apollo’s sister, and the oracles say she is too late, but we don’t know for what because they burn up before they can finish the prophecy.  The only naked woman we’ve seen so far is Aphrodite, in a few brief appearances, so perhaps she’ll play a bigger role moving forward.  That, or Wonder Woman loses her costume at some point.  In a Wonder Woman comic, when a lady is mentioned in a prophecy there’s always a chance it could be Wonder Woman herself.

Speaking of which, Wonder Woman doesn’t appear in the book at all.  She showed up in one page of the Cheetah comic last week, albeit in a dream sequence, but she played no part in this First Born title.  It is VILLAINS Month though, and frankly Wonder Woman hasn’t had much to do in a lot of her normal issues during this current run anyway.  An issue without her in it isn’t a big stretch.  The lack of Wonder Woman and the fun, dark machinations of the gods in this issue made me think about what role Wonder Woman really plays in the series.  The gods are all engaged in this massive fight for the throne of Olympus, with disputes and alliances stretching back to the dawn of the world, and Wonder Woman just seems stuck in the middle of it because Hermes sent Zola to her way back in Wonder Woman #1.  Of all the pieces in this bigger story, Wonder Woman is the one that lifts out most easily.  However, this could very easily change now that she’s the god of war.  That may bring her into the fold directly, and make her a more integral part of this war of the gods.

Altogether, I enjoyed this issue.  While I have some questions about and hopes for Azzarello’s overall story arc, this issue was well written and drawn and gave me a lot to think about despite its relatively simple narrative.  I might be silly to be looking for humanity in a hate-filled god, but I hope that’s an avenue that’s explored moving forward.

Wonder Woman #12 Review OR I Really Didn’t See That Coming At All!!

August 16, 2012

How about that ending, right?!  What a bizarre and potentially awesome left turn that was.  Did it come totally out of nowhere for you all too?  Because I didn’t see it coming in the slightest, and now I’m a little bit worried that I’m a moron that missed all the signs.  I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten caught up enjoying something and didn’t see the obvious twists coming.  Like Marion Cotillard in The Dark Knight Rises!!  So obvious in retrospect, but it completely caught me by surprise while I watched the movie.  I can be a real dope that way.  This feels very out of the blue though.  Anyway, more on that soon, but first…

SPOILER ALERT!!

SUCH BIG SPOILERS!!

HUGE EVEN!!

Seriously, the ending of this book is NUTS and you REALLY don’t want to read about it here if you haven’t read the issue yet.  Don’t rob yourself of an awesome “What the hell?!” moment.  You’ll kick yourself and regret it until the day you die.

Okay, carrying on.

So, let’s do a quick rundown and then go through the three big things we learned.  There’s a big dust up on Mount Olympus and Apollo takes the throne and banishes Hera.  Hermes escapes with an in labour Zola while Wonder Woman gets SUPER powerful and kicks the crap out of Artemis.  Then Wonder Woman goes back to Earth to Zola but Hermes has stolen the baby and given it to Demeter (told you she’d come up again!!) and then the crazy ending.

First up, Wonder Woman’s got some epic powers!!  It seems that she’s been keeping herself in check, with the help of her bracelets.  Remember how last month Artemis and Apollo took down Wonder Woman and the team with ease?  While this month, Wonder Woman pulled off the bracelets and BAM:

She’s got Zeus powers!!  And she schooled Artemis easy peasy.  She could have taken out Apollo too, but instead they cut a deal that he won’t harm Zola’s baby.

Obviously, these Zeus powers are new.  I’m not sure if they’re something she’s had forever that’s been kept in check or something that came about when she found out about Zeus being her dad.  Seeing as this is a new universe still, we don’t have a lot of backstory.  Maybe next month with the #0 issue we’ll learn more about these powers.  Regardless of when she got them, keeping them in check is a very Wonder Woman thing to do.  Both so she wouldn’t hurt people with them AND so that she wouldn’t get corrupted by such epic power.  They’re a new addition to the character, but handled in a very Wonder Woman way.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Wonder Woman having this much power.  I’ve liked how Wonder Woman’s been portrayed as strong and capable but not to the levels of invincible or unstoppable.  Did she even fly before Hermes hit her with the feather in this issue?  I think it’s much more interesting when a character CAN be beaten, because when they win it means more.  Now, the bracelets will maintain her former power level, but knowing she can bust out Zeus powers whenever she needs them sort of lowers the stakes.  But they are very cool, and I do love that she keeps them contained.  We’ll have to see how they play out.

Second, I’m very sad to say that Hermes is the traitor.  I’ve been worried for months that it would be him, since they’ve been teasing it in the solicits and he was sort of the obvious choice because he’s not the obvious choice, you know?  Lennox is new and crotchety and hasn’t earned trust yet, so that’s too obvious, and Strife is just Strife.  Hermes is the only one Wonder Woman and Zola really trusted.

So he stole the kid and gave it to Demeter!!  That bugger.  I LOVE Hermes… he’s my favourite character in the entire DC universe right now, and I really hope he had a good reason for this and that he gets some redemption.  If he’s just a jerk like all the other gods, I’m going to be bummed.  But Demeter seems like a gal who sees the bigger picture with things and hopefully they concocted this plan for the baby’s own protection.

It looks like when we come back in October, Wonder Woman is going to be hot on Hermes’ trail, so I assume at some point we’ll get a confrontation where all the cards are laid on the table.  Until then, it looks like my favourite character won’t be around and part of the awesomest team-up ever.  Not cool.

And now, OH MAN that last page.  There are so many things going on here!!  Let’s look at the whole thing and go through it:

NEW GODS!!!!  WHAT??!!  That’s so fun.  SO random, but so fun.  That dude seems to be Orion, from the helmet, and he’s taking off through a boom tube to who knows where.  Orion is, if you don’t know, the son of Darkseid, the evil ruler of Apokalips who we saw in the first new Justice League arc.  He was raised on New Genesis and is a peaceful, good superhero.

So that’s just bonkers.  It could be a bad scene, since the last time we saw the Greek gods mixed up with the Apokaliptan gods was the end of Amazons Attack, and what a ridiculous mess all of that turned out to be.  However, I think this could be really cool, and the scheming evilness of Apokalips would actually mesh rather well with the fiendish Greek gods we’re currently enjoying.

Now, to me the big question is whether there is one thing happening here or two.  Is it one complete scene, where Orion busts out of the ice, puts on his helmet, and takes off through the boom tube, OR are these two different stories.

Note the colour difference, obviously.  The first two panels are blue and the next two are red.  This hardly suggests continuity.  Also, the arm busting out in the second panel is all scarred and torn up and bloody.  The arm of Orion in the third panel is very smooth and unmarked.  Also notice the shift in the narration.  In the blue panels, it says:

Betrayal, death… perhaps the fall of Olympus.

And then in the red it’s:

Or depending on how you look at it… a beginning.  New gods.

The blue panels seem to be about Olympus and the Greek gods while the red panels seem to be about Apokalips and Orion.

So maybe, and this is just me spitballing here, the first two panels are the reckoning for the Greek gods.  Apollo taking the throne has had repercussions, and now something’s coming for them.  Perhaps that arm is Zeus himself, emerging to take back his throne.  Then the last two panels are about what’ll happen with Orion and Apokalips, and something else entirely is going on there.

I think I might be on to something with my “two different things are going on here” theory, but I’m not exactly sure what that something else is with the Orion stuff.  Here’s my completely random, wild, unsubstantiated, and historically off-base theory: Zola’s kid is Orion.  Or grows up to be Orion.  The prophecy in the first issue said that “the one responsible shall rule in fire”, and what’s more fiery than Apokalips?  The prophecy also states “one of your father’s children will murder another and take their place”, and isn’t there some Fourth World stuff about Darkseid’s downfall at the hands of Orion being prophesied?  The prophecy here doesn’t say which god the child will murder to take their place… it could be Darkseid.

Of course, this theory has HUGE holes, namely that Orion is Darkseid’s son, not Zeus’.  But hey, it’s a whole new universe!!  Maybe they’re mixing it up.  It would also mean that unless Demeter rapid grows that kid somehow, it’s not going to come up for a while.  That would be a) lame, and b) make for a dumb tease.  So I’m very likely wrong here.  Or at the very least wildly off-base.  But it’s fun to come up with off the wall theories!!

Anyway, New Gods!!!  I don’t know when and I don’t know how, but I’m excited to see what they’re going to do with them.  We’ve got the previews for the next three issues, and after the #0 issue in September, the next two are all about the search for the betrayer, ie. Hermes.  Tony Akins is also on art, and Azzarello seems to save the big stuff for Chiang, so maybe once that wraps up we’ll be into the New God stuff.  OR maybe it’s just an editorially mandated tease for something DC has going on elsewhere, their Trinity War maybe.  Who knows?

Finally, Lennox putting himself back together with duct tape is just hilarious:

Nicely done, guys.  Wonder Woman’s been really good since the Hades storyline wrapped up, and it’s little moments like this that make me love it.

Wonder Woman #11 Review OR Wonder Woman Is Really Rocking That Jacket

July 19, 2012

You might think that when the high point of an issue is the protagonist wearing a classy outfit, then the rest of the issue is not so great.  But that’s not the case with Wonder Woman #11.  Yes, Diana looks all sorts of cool in her high boots, white jacket, and tiara headband, and you come away from the issue thinking “Hot damn, Cliff Chiang can draw!!”  However, the rest of the issue is really fun too, and this is my favourite issue of the series in a while.  It’s a rollicking good time, in fact.  First, though…

SPOILERS!!!

I’m going to ruin the ENTIRE issue, so look away if you haven’t read it yet.

Well, I’m going to talk about the outfit for a minute first, so I guess you could read that bit.  It was in the preview, after all.

But THEN, look away!!! 

Okay, so first the outfit:

It seems silly to go on and on about a coat, but let me explain.  It’s a cool coat, obviously… if you’re into fashion at all, you’re going to dig it.  But it’s about a lot more than that, and I think Chiang’s art here represents a lot of what’s working with this interpretation of Wonder Woman. 

First, it’s very modern.  For the longest time, Wonder Woman’s been wearing robes and togas, even in her down time.  Before that, she wore clothes to blend in, and they were often run of the mill and frumpy, really.  This is a new Diana, and her fashion sense isn’t about fitting in to protect an identity, or trying to be hip like in the mod era… it’s a classy elegance that fits her role both as a princess and as a globetrotting bad ass superhero.

Speaking of the mod era, I feel like Chiang is both referencing and updating that look here.  A long white coat with high boots is VERY late 1960s Wonder Woman, and this is a modern take on that look.  Again, I know it’s just a coat, but I think you can sort of see this updated look as a sign of respect for what came before AND of the recognition that characters need to evolve as well.

Which leads us to the tiara as a headband.  It’s extremely clever, really.  The tiara sticks out like a sore thumb in civilian clothing, and just by sliding it up into a headband it totally blends in and Chiang’s solved the problem.  And the whole outfit is there!!  Rip off the coat, pull down the headband, and BAM you’ve got Wonder Woman.  It’s a) sensible, and b) incorporates something iconic and beloved about the character in an innovative way.

So yeah, maybe it’s just a cool coat.  But I think the coat says a lot about the effort being put into the book, particularly on the artistic side of things but also generally.  There’s been a lot of changes, a few of which I don’t exactly love and one of which I pretty much hate, but Azzarello and Chiang really seem to be trying to present a fresh, modern take on the character while still respecting her iconic nature and everything that came before.

Case in point, did you catch the name of the town on the door of the medical centre in the picture above?  Probably not, since you were looking at that coat I’ve been rambling on about.  Here it is from earlier on in the page… I totally missed this in the preview:

Zola lives in Oliveburn, Virginia!!  That’s super fun.  It is, of course, a reference to Olive Byrne, William Moulton Marston’s lady friend from his polyamorous marriage and a big inspiration for his creation of Wonder Woman.

So, onto the story!!  After the dreariness of Hell and the schmaltzy, after school special resolution of Hades needing to learn to love himself, this issue was a nice change of pace.  Hera’s back with a plot to stick it to Zola and her baby, which leads to this fantastic panel where Strife learns that her mother has placed a bounty on Zola:

Man, I love Cliff Chiang.  AND Strife.  She needs to start showing up elsewhere in the DC universe.  Anyway, part of Hera’s bounty is promising Zeus’ throne to whoever brings in Zola, so Apollo teams up with Artemis, and they pretty much beat the living crap out of Wonder Woman, Hermes, and Lennox.  Artemis busts up Lennox so bad that the poor guy is literally crumbling apart by the end of the issue.

It’s a really great fight scene, well choreographed with lots of cool angles and epic hits.  This is extremely nitpicky, but I found it a little bit odd that our trio of heroes couldn’t even put a scratch on Apollo and Artemis.  I realize that they’re gods and all, but so is Hermes PLUS Wonder Woman and Lennox are demi-gods.  Do the math… that’s two gods against two gods spread out over three people when you add it all up.  Plus Apollo got hit by a truck AND shot point blank by a shotgun. 

But oh well.  It was still crazy awesome.  And Wonder Woman and Hermes are totally going to stick it to them next issue, since this issue ends with Hermes teleporting the two of them to Mount Olympus to defend the throne and get back Zola.  I’m very much looking forward to that.

There’s also something going on with Demeter, who we see for the first time in this issue along with Artemis.  I really like the designs on both characters, but Demeter in particular is very striking with her leafy hair and some really fantastic colouring from Matthew Wilson, who kills it as always in this issue:

So yeah, before the big fight, Artemis has a chat with Demeter about needing to fill Zeus’ throne and a prophecy that the Olympian gods are going to be defeated.  Demeter, rather attuned to the set rhythms of the world, views this more as an inevitably than something they can do anything about, but I sincerely doubt she’s just there to look cool and fill up a few pages.  It looks like Apollo and Artemis might be trying to form some sort of coalition… remember that Apollo visited Ares a few issues back, too.  There are a couple of gods that have been on the sidelines so far, and I think they’re going to have a role to play before all of this is said and done.

Overall, I really liked this issue.  Loved it even.  There was lots going on, storywise, some fun new gods, spectacular art, and a very classy coat that you could read WAY too much into if you have a lot of spare time.  The last four issues didn’t really do it for me, what with the rather unpleasant revelation about the Amazons being rapists and murderers and the drawn out, clumsily resolved Hell storyline that followed, but this really feels like a return to form.  It was fun, it was bad ass, and it was pretty.  That’s everything you need in a Wonder Woman comic, and for the first time in a few months I’m SUPER excited to find out what happens next.

Wonder Woman #11 Preview OR Apollo And Artemis Team Up!!

July 16, 2012

Wonder Woman #11 comes out on Wednesday, and DC’s posted a preview on their own blog, rather than another hilariously random or inappropriate site.  Hey, remember when there was a Wonder Woman preview on Maxim’s site?  Oh DC, you’re so crazy.  But anyway, new preview time!!  Cliff Chiang is back, so even if you don’t care for the story you should buy it just to see the pretty pictures:

First off, how classy does Diana look in her white jacket and tiara headband?  I love Chiang’s fashion sense.  They should have gotten him to do all the DCnU costume redesigns.  But yeah, it’s a really great take on Diana.

Also, Diana, Hermes, and Zola out doing normal stuff is my very favourite part of the series.  We only get a page of it here, but whether they’re hitting the clubs or hanging around in fancy apartments or going to the rustic doctor’s office, those three just hanging out is such a good time. 

Then Apollo and Artemis show up!!  Artemis is pretty cool looking, and they seem to be playing up the goddess of the moon angle a lot more than the goddess of the hunt angle, which is an interesting change from the usual depictions.  Their trash talk is kind of terrible though, albeit amusingly so.

Speaking of which, this exchange between Wonder Woman and Apollo feels like it’s ripped right out of a Scott Pilgrim book:

Apollo: It’s time for you to step down.

Wonder Woman: Really? I’ve never felt more like stepping up.

If Wonder Woman punches Apollo so hard that he explodes into a shower of Canadian coins, this will be the greatest single issue of all time.

So yeah, Wonder Woman #11 is on sale this Wednesday, July 16.  After all that Hell stuff, this issue looks pretty fun!!


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