Wonder Woman #10 Review by Jerry W. Vandal
Written by: Brian Azzarello
Art by: Kano, Tony Akins, and Dan Green
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover provided by: Cliff Chiang
When DC took a gamble by semi-restarting their universe they gave themselves an opportunity to bring in new readers with issue ones. It’s still amazing how slapping on #1 issue onto a book can get an increase in sales, but you get both the collector crowd and the I’m looking for a new book but don’t want to jump in during the middle of a story crowd. I’m not a big fan of starting back at issue 1. but I fell into their trap. I’ve been a Marvel man my entire, dabbling in a small handful of DC books. When handed the list of the new 52 I easily decided to try close to half of the books. Sadly I didn’t get in on one of the books that has really taken advantage of the DcnU—Wonder Woman.
I enjoyed Brian Azzarello’s work on Batman and 100 Bullets, but he’s not a guy whose work I’ll chase down. And Cliff Chiang, while I liked his style, was also not a contributor. Wonder Woman…not a character that would sell me on adding a book to my pull list. After reading some rather positive reviews I decided I’d give Zeus’ daughter Diana a shot.
A huge selling point for me is the visual twist of ancient Greece’s mythical gods and creatures. From Poseidon being represented by a whale size green fish, to Hermes’ looking like a laid back vagrant and Hades’ child like melted wax face I turned the pages with enthusiasm.
Issue ten picks up with Wonder Woman having her golden lasso tied around her neck as Hades asked her if she truly loves him. Hades had taken Diana’s friend Zola, who may be carrying Zeus’ child to Hell and only released her after a vow that she would then marry him. However, Hades did not simply want her hand, he wanted Diana to love him. She easily expressed her affection with words. The god of the underworld however did not believe the Amazon. Wonder Woman, forced to tell the truth tell Hades that she does love him. He is not sure how but he knows she is lying and calls for her to be punished. Diana breaks free and begins to fight and race her way out of Hell. As she makes her escape she runs into the cavalry, Eros (god of love) Hephaestus (god of the forge) and Lennox (who claims he’s Zeus’ son). Hades however comes from the ground and swallows Diana, promising to do so repeatedly until the end of time, chewing, shredding, killing her, only to have her reborn to suffer the same fate. Strife (goddess of discord) punch through the back of Hade’s head and removes Diana from her punishment. A brief argument follows. Wonder Woman’s intention was to fight this fight alone and to deal with the obvious consequences.
What follows is a moment when I pulled back and said while that makes sense it’s also very cliched. The reasoning behind Hades’ angst and need to be told Diana loves him. The villain wants to be loved. Feel sorry for him. The scene goes back and forth, Hephaestus points out what Hades is truly searching for love and Diana points out that you can’t force anyone to love you. I’ve read the scene before, and seen it in a few movies I’m sure. But the scene is saved by a quick quip from a very large molten hand Hephaestus Greek god of making cool stuff like golden pistols. The shot at his son Eros (Cupid) god of love who has a Nathan Drake thing going helps alleviate the momentary set back though necessary angle. As each of the characters in the scene are family, it the joke that no one loves Eros more than himself turns the scene from a cliched moment about love to a moment about family.
Overall, very solid issue and a solid closer to the arc. What really works for this book is Wonder Woman. She comes off as a hero who is not only admirable in her protection of Zola, but trying to convince both those around her she is capable of great things as well as herself. She stands up for those weaker then her and will die for them. So awhile the blood of Zeus is in her veins she has gained a vulnerability that highlights her mortal side side more than her god side. This is one of the DCnU’S better books. Brian Azzarello has really taken this character whose had several writers try to set her on a direction that readers can attach themselves to. I read very little of those, but I never felt the sense that Wonder Woman had truly found that direction. And regular series artist Cliff Chiang gives the book a classic comic book look. Issue ten features 3 back up artists, Kano, Tony Akins and Dan Green, all of whom do a great job of keeping the smooth and classic feel of the book maintained.
Again, while I don’t agree with starting back at issue one, mostly because my OCD kicks in when I’m looking for an issue and issue 321 followed by issue 1, it has worked for several DC books. And Wonder Woman is one of those books. While her back ground has been changed a bit, this is a top notch book and I am looking forward to finding the next issue in the stack of books waiting in my file.