Posts Tagged ‘Brian Azzarello’

Wonder Woman’s October 2016 Covers and Solicits

July 19, 2016

There’s some cool stuff on the way for Wonder Woman this October, from her regular bi-monthly series to a fun special to some intriguing collections. Between Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary and the upcoming film, the character’s profile is sky high and we’ve been getting a pretty nice selection of Wonder Woman products announced each month. It’s an exciting (and often expensive!) time to be a Wonder Woman fan.

So let’s see what Wonder Woman is up to in October, starting with her regular series:

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WONDER WOMAN #8
Written by GREG RUCKA • Art and cover by NICOLA SCOTT • Variant covers by JENNY FRISON • “Year One” part four! The world is finally introduced to Wonder Woman, and adversaries—both ancient and new—take note.
On sale OCTOBER 12 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

WONDER WOMAN #9
Written by GREG RUCKA • Art and cover by LIAM SHARP • Variant covers by JENNY FRISON • “THE LIES” part five! Diana takes another step closer to discovering the truth…and the mysterious Godwatch responds!
On sale OCTOBER 26 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

As usual, we’re only getting one of the covers, and this month it’s the Sharp one. I don’t love it, to be honest. Is it just me, or does Steve sort of look like a creep here? He’s weirding me out a little.

But, in fun news, Frank Cho is no longer doing the variant covers, and in his place we’ve got Jenny Frison, which is a huge upgrade. Cho’s covers weren’t terrible, but Cho’s a twit who seems to love to stir up sexist anger among his followers, so I’m not sad to see him go. His brand wasn’t a good fit for the book. And Frison is an amazing cover artist, so this should be very cool!

As for the insides, Rucka sure does love vague solicits. Wonder Woman is set to meet the world for the first time in “Year One”, while in “The Lies” Wonder Woman is moving slightly closer to the truth. Not a lot of information, but the series has been solid so far so I’m looking forward to it all nonetheless.

Next up, the second issue of the gorgeous looking team up, Trinity:

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TRINITY #2
Written by FRANCIS MANAPUL • Art and cover by FRANCIS MANAPUL • Variant cover by FRANK CHO
“BETTER TOGETHER” part two! Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman have uncovered a window into their very souls: and the power of temptation proves to be stronger than any villain they could battle! The bonds of friendship and trust between the most formidable heroes on the planet will be tested to their breaking point, with the lives of innocents hanging in the balance!
On sale OCTOBER 19 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

I mean, look at that cover! I am going to buy this book based on the cover alone; it’s just so pretty. And Manapul’s doing the insides too! It’s going to look so nice. The story sounds weird in ways that could be cool. I like that the book focuses on their friendship and testing them all together; it’s a premise I can get behind. I’m keen for this book to start.

Hilariously, Frank Cho seems to have landed here with a new variant cover gig. We can’t catch a dang break! But really, who’s going to want a Cho cover when they can get that Manapul cover? It’s just too good.

We’ve also got an exciting special:

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WONDER WOMAN 75TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL #1
Story and art by various • Cover by JIM LEE • Variant cover by NICOLA SCOTT • Variant cover by LIAM SHARP
An immense special issue celebrating seventy-five years of the Amazing Amazon, through phenomenal new stories, art, and stand-alone illustrations! Featuring a roster of incredible creators—some who’ve laid down legendary runs with the character, and some who’ve never drawn her before—including Rafael Albuquerque, Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, Renae De Liz, Brenden Fletcher, Adam Hughes, Karl Kerschl, Gail Simone, and many, many more to be announced!
On sale OCTOBER 26 • 80 pg, FC, $7.99 US • RATED T

Eighty pages of Wonder Woman fun, by some killer creative teams! I’m particularly excited for Fletcher and Kerschl to do a Wonder Woman story, though more Renae De Liz is super awesome, and Adam Hughes always does a great Diana. Plus Cliff Chiang! I love Cliff Chiang so much. I’m curious to see who else gets announced; it’d be great to see some more women in the mix here. I think this book could be a blast, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Now to some collections, including a fancy absolute edition:

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ABSOLUTE WONDER WOMAN BY BRIAN AZZARELLO AND CLIFF CHIANG VOL. 1 HC
Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO
Art by CLIFF CHIANG, TONY AKINS, DAN GREEN and KANO
Cover by CLIFF CHIANG
In these tales from the start of DC—The New 52, Wonder Woman learns that Queen Hippolyta has kept a secret from her daughter all her life—and when Diana learns who her father is, her life will shatter like brittle clay. The only one more shocked than Diana by this revelation? Bloodthirsty Hera—so why is her sinister daughter, Strife, so eager for the truth to be told? This Absolute edition collects WONDER WOMAN #1-18 and #0.
On sale FEBRUARY 1 • 484 pg, FC, 8.25” x 12.5”, $125.00 US

I have mixed feelings on this. While the first six issues of this run are AMAZING, it does go downhill somewhat after that. I’d say that about 90% of my affection for this era of Wonder Woman is tied directly to Cliff Chiang’s spectacular art, and seeing it oversized like this would be so fun, but there were a lot of fill ins too that were often only just passable. I’m not sure whether I’ll pick this up or not, especially at such a steep price. But I might; I just love Chiang too much, you guys.

Finally, the collection we’ve all been waiting for:

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THE LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN HC
Written by RENAE DE LIZ
Art and cover by RENAE DE LIZ and RAY DILLON
The new WONDER WOMAN 9-issue miniseries written and pencilled by Renae De Liz is collected here! In the beginning there was only chaos. But Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, saw a better future—and eventually her daughter would be destined to bring that new world to life! Before her ultimate fate unfolds though, Diana of Themyscira must learn the important lessons of an Amazonian childhood!
On sale DECEMBER 7 • 288 pg, FC, $29.99 US

BEST OF WONDER WOMANS!! If for some reason you were crazy enough to not read this digitally and THEN not read this in single issues, pull yourself together and mark December 7, 2016, on your calendar because you need to get this book. It’s the best Wonder Woman story I’ve read in ages; it’s gorgeous and fun, and simultaneously classic and fresh. It’s just ridiculously good on every level. You’ve got to check it out, and if you’ve got the single issues already, get some of these for your friends. I mean, talk about a perfect holiday gift!

So October should be a lot of fun for single issues, and the collections that come out further down the road are looking cool too. Remember a few months back when all we got was the Finches on Wonder Woman and a terrible Superman/Wonder Woman series? We are living the high life now, gang!

Eduardo Risso to Draw Wonder Woman Mini-Comic for Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2

November 2, 2015

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Dark Knight III: The Master Race is a horribly named comic book that continues Frank Miller’s Dark Knight series, set to debut in just a few weeks time. Miller is joined by co-writer Brian Azzarello and artist Andy Kubert for this third volume, and with Azzarello in the mix I had my fingers crossed that Eduardo Risso would be a part of this all at some point. Risso is an amazing artist, so much so that he could make a project as misguided and unnecessary as this something worth looking at, at least.

Luckily for us, we’re going to get Eduardo Risso in the best way possible. Each issue of Dark Knight III comes with a mini-comic focusing on a different character, and the mini-comic for Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2 is going to focus on Wonder Woman and feature art from Risso. Presumably it’ll still be written by Miller and Azzarello, which is a burden the art will have to overcome, but Risso’s been making writers look good for ages. I’m excited to see him take on Wonder Woman, and I’m curious to see what the story will cover. Something that bridges the gap between All Star Batman and Dark Knight would be fun; Miller’s feminazi Wonder Woman in All Star Batman is pretty ridiculous, but also I love her.

Risso is doing a cover for the mini-comic as well. It’s the ominous, fierce image at the top of this post. No one does shadows like Risso. Look at those eyes coming out of the black under her tiara. This news is making we want to go reread 100 Bullets again.

There’s also been word that the poorly chosen title “The Master Race” might be a reference to Lara, Wonder Woman and Superman’s daughter from The Dark Knight Strikes Again, and that this new race of superbeings will play a key role in the story. Details remain sparse, but that does sound like something that Miller’s Batman wouldn’t be very into and would want to punch. I have no idea if Lara will be a key part of Risso’s mini-comic because we have literally no details on that book other than that Risso is drawing it and Wonder Woman is the focus.

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2 is out in comic shops and online on December 23, so go pick that up if you’re intrigued by a Risso-drawn Wonder Woman tale. Or buy it for your friends and family for Christmas! Nothing says stocking stuffer like a super racist sounding comic book.  On second thought, maybe buy the book, pitch the main part, and gift just the pretty Wonder Woman mini-comic to all of your friends and family.

Wonder Woman #41 Review OR A Bland, Backwards Looking Start To A New Arc

June 17, 2015

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When Meredith and David Finch took over the series with Wonder Woman #36 last fall, their first issue was an absolute mess. The writing was awkard, the art made Wonder Woman look like a sexy adolescent, and the whole book was just an extraordinarily unpleasant reading experience. I’ve read EVERY issue of Wonder Woman going back 75 years, and Wonder Woman #36 was easily one of the worst. So I’m happy to say that Wonder Woman #41 is better than that. Unfortunately, it’s still not very good. We’ll dig into why, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal every shocking revelation in this issue!

Just kidding, there really aren’t any!

But still, if you don’t want to be spoiled, look away!

Wonder Woman #41 is a chance for Meredith and David Finch to reintroduce their book to potential new readers. With the #DCYou mini-relaunch garnering a lot of attention, sales are sure to go up for returning books across the line, which means a lot of new eyes on Wonder Woman. The issue seems to be trying to address that, but they go way too far in doing so. The first three quarters of the book are basically a recap of the forty issues that came before, with nothing particularly new added to the mix. Plus it’s written in a weirdly stilted, expository fashion, with long internal monologue introductions for each new scene. It’s a bland, clunky read.

We start on Mount Olympus, where Wonder Woman visits Donna Troy to recap her crimes and offer her clichéd platitudes about how she can change and take control of her life. Wonder Woman is stern but caring, Donna is angry and pouty. It really adds nothing new if you’ve read the six issues beforehand, and I can’t imagine that it’s terribly intriguing if you haven’t.

Then Wonder Woman stops into visit Zola and Zeke, who appear to be living on Mount Olympus with Hera. This harkens back to the Azzarello and Chiang era, and is one of the few references the Finches have made to this run thus far. The Azzarello and Chiang run had its ups and downs, but one of the highlights was definitely the brash, spunky Zola and the evolution of her relationship with Hera. None of that is showcased here. Zola’s dialogue lacks her former folksy snark, while there are just hints of Hera’s amusingly snooty condescension. Neither character feels right.

Nor do they look right. Zola looks like a generic blonde woman, or rather like a generic blonde model. She’s sitting most of the time, but her limbs are long and slim, and her hair is fashionably cut. Cliff Chiang’s Zola was short with shaggy hair, and a very specific style. Finch has her in non-descript clothing even though Chiang always had her in redneck couture, with a lot of plaids and decorative t-shirts. She had a look with a lot of personality, and none of that is present here. I suppose it’s not particularly fair to compare Finch to Chiang, since they have completely different strengths. Chiang’s character design as epic, while Finch’s is… well, you’ve seen the new Wonder Woman costume. But even when Finch is channeling Chiang’s design, the result isn’t great. Chiang always drew Hera’s peacock cloak as voluminous and imposing, with detail in the feathers so you knew exactly what it was. Finch turns into a regular old cloak that sort of has a peacock feather design on it. She cuts a far less striking figure.

After that visit, Wonder Woman stops by to see Hephaestus, first to remind us that the Amazons who sided with Donna and killed the Manazons are now working at his forge, and second to get her new outfit. The costume supposedly shows her evolution form girl to woman and is “a reflection of everything I am now”, but neither the writing nor art explains exactly how or why. Wonder Woman calls it a “symbol” but the book offers no meaning behind her weird shoulder pads, thigh high boots, pointy skirt, and black unitard. Probably because it’s a #DCYou twist, and something resembling the old costume will be back sooner or later anyway. Big changes to the Wonder Woman costume never last.

The book ends with something new, a teen with a bomb. The teen is threatening to blow himself up if he doesn’t get to meet Wonder Woman, so she stops by to try to talk some sense into him. But the teen is no ordinary teen, and wants to fight even though Wonder Woman is not keen to do so. Ultimately, he jumps off a bridge and retreats to a secret lair. It’s an odd reveal because while there is a magic pool and a plot to have the teen replace Wonder Woman as the god of war is made very clear, we have no idea who either participant is.   Pegasus shows up at the end, which makes me think that the teen might be Perseus, but he could also just be any random dude with a dislike of Wonder Woman who craves power. Whoever’s in the pool is obviously mythologically based, but the details are few. I’m sure more will be revealed moving forward, but a little more information could have made this big reveal a lot more impactful. “Oh snap, it’s some random dude!” is far less compelling than “Oh snap, it’s Perseus!” or “Oh snap, it’s Icarus!” or whoever.

All together, it’s not a particularly well crafted issue, nor does it create a lot of excitement for the next issue. However, at least it’s just bland and not straight up awful. That’s a big step up from the Finches’ first issue back in November. It’s not an enjoyable issue. I wouldn’t say it’s in the ballpark of good yet. But it didn’t make me angry or sad, and I’m glad about that. I’ll take bored over furious any day of the week. While I hold little hope that Wonder Woman will ever be good again with the Finches at the helm, it’s always nice when an issue isn’t completely terrible. Well done, all involved, for clearing the lowest of bars.

Wonder Woman #35 Review OR The End Of An Era

October 29, 2014

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I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for a comic than when DC announced that Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang would be relaunching Wonder Woman. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news, how I flipped out in a public place and drew a lot of odd looks, and how I called my best friend to celebrate with someone comicly inclined who would understand the awesomeness of the day. I was a huge fan of Azzarello’s work on books like 100 Bullets and Loveless, as well the only guy I know who loved Superman: For Tomorrow, and I’d been following Cliff Chiang’s work for years; he was one of the few artists whose work I always bought no matter my interest in the book as a whole. I have a stack of Cliff Chiang comics starring characters I don’t give a hoot about, but I love the comics because they are GORGEOUS.

Now, more than three years later, their run on Wonder Woman is drawing to a close. It’s had its ups and downs, to be sure. I’m still not over the changes to the Amazons, and their portrayal of Diana was a bit all over the map. But when their Wonder Woman was good, which it was quite often, it was one of the best comics on the stands and portrayed a powerful and compassionate version of the character. Today, with their final issue, Azzarello and Chiang have finished strong, presenting a fantastic showcase for Wonder Woman and the wider cast they’ve built around her. But before we talk about that, first this:

SPOILER ALERT!!!

I am going to spoil not just this issue, but the ENTIRE run!

Go read it all first!

Don’t rob yourself of a good story and spectacular art!

Carrying on, let me start with a bit of self-congratulating. I called the Zola is Athena thing when I reviewed the last issue, as well as the Zeke/Zeus connection. So high fives all around for that!

Onto the book itself. This issue picks up where the last one left off, with Wonder Woman and her pals facing Poseidon on Olympus. Then things went sideways when the First Born showed up, and it looked like some of the team were going to meet a bad end. But, of course, the good guys won. It’s superhero comic; that was sort of a given. How they won, however, speaks to the strength of Azzarello and Chiang’s run.

Over the last few years, I’ve often commented on the lack of Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman. On average, she was lucky to be on half of the pages of her own book. But for this finale, Azzarello and Chiang had Wonder Woman take center stage and show her true heroism. She was on every single page of this final issue, driving the action and bringing the First Born’s reign to an end.

When all was lost and it looked like the heroes would be defeated, Wonder Woman was spared because the minotaur couldn’t kill her. He remembered what she did when he was in the same circumstances in Wonder Woman #0, subdued and about to be killed. The young Diana couldn’t kill the minotaur and now, years later, because of that act of compassion, the minotaur refused to kill her. After three years of Wonder Woman’s compassion routinely biting her square in the ass, that it finally paid off for her when it mattered most was a nice, triumphant moment.

It also allowed Wonder Woman to regroup, and defeat the First Born. She took off her bracelets and went full on god mode, and could have killed him. Hermes was certainly cheering for that when he told her to show no mercy. But mercy and compassion are her core. She tricked the First Born; Wonder Woman is clever as well. But instead of killing him, she sent him back down into the pit from whence he came to stay for another few thousand years. The act appeared to not be about malice or punishment, but rather about her belief that the First Born could, with time, learn to love and trust others. Despite all of his evil actions, she refused to see him as a lost cause.

Finally, Wonder Woman convinced Athena to save Zola, who she was set to discard as she returned to her divine form. Athena had been living as Zola, unknowingly, for twenty years, a pittance compared to the lifespan of a god, but Diana convinced her that her time as Zola was valuable and that Zola should live on, to help Zeke/Zeus and also to help others. I’m particularly glad for this turn of events, because Zola is one of the best new characters to come out of this run.

As a comic book, this final issue was well balance and paced. The action was a lot of fun, and the fights were great, but there was a lot more going on than a typical superhero beat ’em up as Wonder Woman’s compassion ultimately saved the day. Azzarello wrote great moments for all of his now fan favourite characters, and finished with a surprisingly happy yet fitting ending for his darker take on Wonder Woman’s universe.

The issue was beautifully drawn as always by Cliff Chiang, who captured the emotion of each beat perfectly. I don’t think that any other comic book artist communicates feeling and mood as well as Cliff Chiang, and definitely not as deftly and subtly. Plus, he can draw the hell out of a fight scene too. The man is incomparable, and I’m so sad to see him leave the title.

Matthew Wilson’s colours were gorgeous, which is not a surprise given the stellar work he’s done on this series. He always knows how to find the exact right palette for an issue, and then punctuate it fun ways to really drive home the key moments. This issue, I was particularly taken with how he coloured Wonder Woman, Zola, and Zeke as the dawn hit them on the second last page. Such lovely work.

Jared K. Fletcher’s lettering continued to achieve the key goal of lettering: To blend in so well with the art that you don’t even really notice it’s there. His work has been seamless from the first issue on, telling the story effectively while showcasing the artwork as well. Being a letterer isn’t the flashiest of jobs, but good lettering goes a long way and Fletcher has done some fantastic work on Wonder Woman over the past few years.

So the First Born is vanquished, the Amazons are back, and Wonder Woman and all her pals made it out alive. This issue is not only the end of this epic storyline, but also the end of an era. Largely due to Azzarello and Chiang’s star power, the series has been incredibly self-contained and avoided the wider world of the DC universe, specifically Wonder Woman’s foolish romance with Superman. From what we’ve seen of the Finches’ first issue set to debut next month, this separation is over and Wonder Woman will now be much more integrated with the rest of DC’s titles. Wonder Woman hasn’t received the best treatment in the New 52, so her autonomy in her own series was a nice respite. I suppose we’ll still have Sensation Comics, at least.

My congratulations to Azzarello, Chiang, and the whole Wonder Woman team for this great finale! While the run has had rough moments, I think that in the end there was a lot more good than bad and, as a whole, it will go down as one of the better runs in the history of the character.

Wonder Woman #35 Preview OR A Peek At Brian Azzarello And Cliff Chiang’s Epic Finale

October 28, 2014

After more than three years, Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s time on Wonder Woman is coming to a close tomorrow with Wonder Woman #35. It’s been quite a run, and despite my qualms with some aspects of the story, their tenure’s high points have been remarkable and certain issues will go down as some of the best in the history of Wonder Woman, I’m sure. I’ll talk more about their legacy in my review tomorrow, but first let’s take a look at what’s coming.

When we last left our intrepid heroine, she’d gone to Olympus with Hermes, Zola, and Zeke, and Poseidon had arrived to stop their plans. The preview picks up right where Wonder Woman #34 left off:

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Well, now I’m very worried about Hermes. He’s been one of my favourites characters from the very first issue; if you’ve kept up with my reviews, you’ll remember how I sad I was when he was on the outs with Wonder Woman during the second year and was barely in the book. Hopefully Olympus is a place of immortality, as he says, because I don’t want to lose such a great character.

Zola is looking ever more owly, which I think is significant given the owl/Athena connection. We’ll find out tomorrow if my theory is correct. If it is, we’ll see Zola revealed as a disguised Athena, and possible Zeke revealed as a disguised Zeus. I think I might be onto something here.

Finally, Wonder Woman’s “Um… no?” in reply to Poseidon’s demands is perfect and hilarious. I’m expecting a spectacular showcase for Wonder Woman in this final issue, with the vanquishing of foes and the triumph of good over evil and all of those things. This preview looks to be a good start on that road. I’m going to miss Cliff Chiang drawing Diana so much. For me, he draws the definitive Wonder Woman. He captures her exactly.

Wonder Woman #35 will be available in stores and online tomorrow. It should be pretty epic, so go check it out! I’ll be back with a full review sometime on Wednesday afternoon. I’m anticipating having a lot of feelings about the end of this run, and am looking forward to hearing all of your thoughts on the finale as well.

Secret Origins #6 Review OR Wonder Woman’s New 52 Origin Finally Revealed

October 22, 2014

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This week’s issue of Secret Origins tells the tale of how Diana, Princess of Paradise Island, became Wonder Woman. Sort of. It’s a truncated story that leaves out a lot of the parts traditionally associated with Wonder Woman’s origin story. Nonetheless, it provides some fascinating backstory for a character who hasn’t had a lot of it thus far. We’ll dig into it all, but first:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal Wonder Woman’s secret origin!

You should read it yourself first!

The book is worth buying for that amazing Lee Bermejo cover alone!

Okay, so back to the origin. The story is written by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang, and a lot of it is stuff we know already from their run on Wonder Woman. Diana is actually the daughter of Zeus and Hippolyta, but she and the rest of the Amazons think that she was made of clay. The story is a snippet from the life of Diana, starting with her desire to someday leave Paradise Island and ending with Steve Trevor crash landing there being her ticket out. It doesn’t go back in time to tell us about the history of the Amazons, nor does it show us how Wonder Woman left Paradise Island. It’s sort of a mini-origin, which is somewhat unsatisfying.

However, what we did get was both enjoyable and illuminating. The biggest reveal was Diana and Aleka’s relationship. They’ve been antagonistic for most of the current Wonder Woman run, but here in the past they were good friends, and perhaps more. There was a definite flirtation between them, and the way the fight scenes were constructed seemed to regularly place them in somewhat sexual poses. Whether or not they were more than friends isn’t clearly stated, but I got the feeling that there was an attraction between them, perhaps that had yet to be explored.

Whatever the nature of their relationship, their closeness in the past explains their distance in the present. Diana wanted to leave and Aleka wanted her to stay, and after Diana left to become Wonder Woman it’s obvious that Aleka didn’t take it well and turned against her. Her deep anger in the present again hints at a spurned lover or an unrequited love situation more than a broken friendship to me, but that’s again not explicitly stated.

This backstory adds a lot to both characters. Aleka’s been rather one note, but now we can understand her better. As for Diana, seeing her curiosity and desire to explore the wider world explains a lot of who she is today.

The story’s style is very similar to Wonder Woman #0, the flashback issue where a young Diana is mentored by Ares. It’s got a Silver Age vibe, both in terms of the writing and the gorgeous art by Goran Sudzuka, which is some of the best work I’ve ever seen from him. The tone is very upbeat and light, almost in an artificial way, which suggests that the story might not be a perfect recreation of what “actually happened,” and that there was more darkness and emotional depth beneath the cheerful surface.

Another surprising reveal was the first official appearance of Athena, in the form of an owl-like creature. I’ve been harping on the lack of Athena in Wonder Woman for years now, and in my review of the latest issue of Wonder Woman I revealed my theory that Zola is actually Athena in disguise. Part of my theory hinged on what happened to Zola’s eyes, how they took on an owly appearance when she visited Olympus. Owls are traditionally associated with Athena, and now we see Athena as a full on owl-like person, so I think my theory has definitely increased in likelihood.

While the story was limited in scope, that may well be a good thing. I was hoping for but also dreading reading more history of the Amazons; Azzarello’s done some bad stuff to the Amazons, turning them into rapists and murderers. While something that addressed and fixed these changes would have been nice, not having anything worse added to their altered history can only be considered a positive. It also leaves parts of their story, particularly the Amazon’s very beginnings, unexplored, which will allow other writers to fill that in and hopefully present a better take on the Amazons in the future.

Similarly, we don’t know if there was any sort of competition for who returned Steve Trevor or anything like that, which is usually a big part of Wonder Woman’s origin stories. Again, someone else can pick up on that in the future, which is cool.

All told, the Wonder Woman story in Secret Origins #6 is both enjoyable and adds a lot of interesting, albeit limited, elements to her backstory, and to Aleka as well. It should also have ramifications for Azzarello and Chiang’s upcoming Wonder Woman finale, if my Zola/Athena theory proves to be true. Plus it was all pretty gay, really, however unspecifically, and that’s fun to see. There is obviously a massive lesbian component to the Amazons, and I’m glad to see them start to be explored.

Secret Origins #6 is available online and in stores today, and also features the origins of Deadman and Sinestro. I didn’t read the latter two, but hey, more stories! The issue is worth buying for the Wonder Woman story alone, and the fantastic cover.

Wonder Woman #34 Review OR Robot Elephants vs. Vengeful Gods

October 1, 2014

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I liked a lot of things in this penultimate issue of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman run, but I also wasn’t keen on parts of it. Luckily, the things I didn’t like were more at the beginning and everything got crazy and twisty and fun toward the end. Plus, I think the mystery surrounding a conspicuous absence that I’ve been harping about for a couple years now might be on the verge of being addressed. Before we dig into all of that, though, first I should declare:

SPOILER ALERT!!

I am about to reveal every cool moment in this comic book!

Go read it first! It’s Cliff Chiang’s second last issue! It’s so pretty!

Okay, so let’s start with what I didn’t like. First, I wasn’t keen on the dialogue. Azzarello is known for his stylized dialogue. He’s done a lot of clever things with the way he writes people talking, both in the construction of the language and how he transitions from scene to scene. At its best, like in 100 Bullets, it’s almost poetic, and a lot of fun to read. During his Wonder Woman run, he’s reined that in a bit, until this issue where it is on full display and not in a good way.

Several scenes read almost like a parody of Azzarello. I mean, Strife literally says that she brought Wonder Woman home to where she was raised so she could watch it get razed. That’s not good stuff. Nor was Hera’s reply to Zola when she said Hera turned the jackal people into glass: “It’s crystal. Clear?” Come on. I’m all for fun wordplay, but this is rough. Azzarello is usually much better at this sort of thing.

Also, Wonder Woman almost calls Strife a bitch again. Luckily, her mother cut her off before she could finish her sentence. The last time Wonder Woman called her a bitch I railed about it for about a thousand words, so I’ll spare you a lengthy rant here. Suffice it to say, “bitch” is not a word that Wonder Woman should ever say. It’s a gendered insult that denigrates women and she would have no part of that. Plus, Wonder Woman is clever. She can come up with a better insult.

I still hate the Manazons, but I have to admit that the robot elephants were pretty cool. But Hephaestus could have just dropped by with some sweet robot elephants and we could’ve skipped the whole Manazon thing, because it is dumb dumb dumb.

What I do like about the Manazons, and this issue in general, is that all of the people Wonder Woman has interacted with over the course of this run, showing them mercy and offering them help, have come together to fight alongside her and defeat the First Born. Orion’s been in the mix since last issue, and Milan’s now swooped in to help. Hera looked to be heading back to capricious god status, but changed her mind and helped out Zola. Even Strife helped out, if only to rob Wonder Woman of the peace that death would bring her. Wonder Woman’s amassed a weird, dysfunctional family over the past three years, and now they’re all rallying behind her.

All this talk about Wonder Woman’s family brings us to Zola, who journeyed to Olympus with Wonder Woman at the issue’s end to put Zeke on the throne and rob the First Born of a lot of his power. When she arrived, Zola collapsed in pain and her eyes went all weird:

zola

So here’s my theory about what’s up. For years now, I’ve been repeatedly bringing up the conspicuous lack of Athena in Wonder Woman. Pretty much every other Olympian god has been in the book, and with a substantial role, but we haven’t seen Athena at all (apart from maybe an owl that popped up a few times in Wonder Woman #0). My main theory about Zeke has long been that Zeke is actually Zeus; there’s the Z-name connection, plus his MASSIVE powers that manifest sporadically. Mythologically, Zeus birthed Athena; technically, she sprang fully formed from the head of Zeus, but you get what I’m saying. So what if Athena is returning the favour? If Zeus is Zeke, maybe Athena is Zola, disguised and perhaps memory wiped in order to hide her father and protect him from the dangers he knew were coming. Look at the eyes in the panel above. They look like owl eyes, and owls are the animal most commonly associated with Athena. She’s usually depicted with one on her shoulder. So maybe Athena’s been in the book the whole time and we, and probably she, didn’t know it. That would be pretty cool. I suppose I’d be bummed to lose Zola as a character, though. She’s a lot of fun.

Finally, the big reveal at the end of the issue was Poseidon emerging from the pool of blood in Olympus, though his intentions were vague. His pronouncements seemed ominous, but final page reveals are usually tricksy. We’ve got a number of options here. Poseidon might be working with the First Born, and thus is set to fight Wonder Woman and her pals. Poseidon might be angling for the throne of Olympus for himself, and thus working against the First Born but also against Wonder Woman and her pals. Or maybe Poseidon is just being bombastic and came to actually help Wonder Woman and her pals, though that one seems a bit unlikely. Either way, he’s poised to be an important player when we get the conclusion of this run in a few weeks times.

So the end is almost here, and I’m very curious to see how it all comes together in the last issue. Wonder Woman #34 had some bits and style choices that bugged me, but ultimately I enjoyed how everyone came together and I’m intrigued by the implications of the last couple pages. And I feel like I’m onto something with this Zola/Athena thing. We’ll find out soon enough, I suppose.


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