Or – “A Strange Family On A Strange Journey…”

Ever since the revelation of her true parentage, Wonder Woman has found herself interacting more and more with her extended family, a group that makes the Kardashians look like the Berenstain Bears by comparison.  What new horrors await her during her extended family reunion?

WONDER WOMAN #9
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Penciler: Tony Akins
Inker: Dan Green
Cover Artist: Cliff Chiang
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Wonder Woman: After believing herself a creature mystically imbued with life from clay, the revelation that she had been fathered by Zeus shook up Wonder Woman’s world-view.  Interacting with Hermes, with Hephaestus, and with Hades has made a mess of Diana’s life, and probably endangered Zola, the woman whom she has sworn to protect.  What else can go wrong?

YOU NEVER WANT TO ASK THAT QUESTION…

This book is probably the most successful use of the reset button in the New 52 for me.  Stripped of most of the superheroic and wartime nonsense, Wonder Woman has been recast as a demigoddess with a mission, her powers and motif remaining similar, but everything else (including the tone of the book) changing for the better.  After years, Brian Azzarello has found something new to say about the amazing amazon, embarking on a mission to protect a young pregnant woman while dealing with her treacherous in-laws.  The opening sequence is startling, as the embodiments of Strife and War have a bitter conversation about their roles in the coming drama, reminding me in a very good way of the kind of interactions that Dream and his family routinely had in classic issues of ‘Sandman.’  Diana, for her part is quite literally in hell, preparing for a wedding to Hades himself, with some scary imagery (body horror at it’s best) for both Diana and her lady-in-waiting.  As an aside, this book is NOT for the faint of heart, especially if you have issues with blood…

SERIOUSLY.  IT DOESN’T EVER HAVE A GOOD ANSWER…

There’s one thing in the issue that really falls flat for me, in the appearance of Aphrodite, depicted as  a beautiful, nude woman.  The artists very cleverly use “camera” angles and panel placement to hide both her face (which is wise, as the depiction of the most beautiful women in the universe will always be tough) and her nudity, which is much less successful.  The effect of the pages is very disturbing, with odd corners and strange blocking making me feel like I’m trapped in the Twilight Zone episode “Third From The Sun,” where off-kilter cameras are used to make the viewer subtly uncomfortable.  Of course, that may be intentional on the creators’ part, as we’re quickly shown a wedding chapel made of human souls, Diana in a wedding gown decorated with severed limbs, and the most terrifying realization of all:  Hades has doubts and ulterior motives that may be the death of our heroine…

THE VERDICT: FEELS LIKE CLASSIC VERTIGO.

There have been some startlingly dark and vicious moments in this incarnation of Wonder Woman, befitting a story based on the darkest corners of myth, and this issue’s ending is well in keeping with that expectation.  While I’m not entirely sure that hardcore WW fans will enjoy this story (if you love Linda Carter in spandex, for instance, you may have reservations) but the Vertigo fan in me is very entertained by this book.  Regular artist Cliff Chiang is off this month, but the replacement team ably keeps the look of his work, and Azzarello keeps up his delightful use of wordplay and unreliable characters to keep things intriguing and nerve-wracking all at once.  Wonder Woman #9 is a good’n, keeping up a run of good (albeit dark and mean-spirited) issues, and earning 4 out of 5 stars overall.  In many ways, the biggest difficulty is trying to reconcile this Wonder Woman with the one appearing in Justice League every month…

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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13 Comments

  1. aerohalen1
    May 19, 2012 at 5:25 pm — Reply

    Sorry,she is the guest star in her own book.

    • Ced
      May 20, 2012 at 8:45 am — Reply

      I agree.
      The olympians are well designed but they take too much spotlight and are getting quite boring.

  2. aerohalen1
    May 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm — Reply

    i just think the people who like the reboot of Wonder Woman weren’t fans to before the new 52.

  3. Ricco
    May 19, 2012 at 5:43 pm — Reply

    Like with BoP, Gail Simone leaves? So do I…

    The way she wrote WW was a thing of beauty.

  4. David L
    May 19, 2012 at 9:08 pm — Reply

    A candlehead on the cover??

  5. brainypirate
    May 19, 2012 at 9:15 pm — Reply

    The JLA comment is key to the problem DC faces with her. How is this version of WW ever going to overlap with the rest of the DCU? How do you write in a guest appearance by Flash or GL or BoP? But if she can’t overlap the rest of the universe, how do you get non-WW fans interested in her?

    It’s odd that even though WW is part of the “trinity” (blech), none of her villains have ever become major threats outside her book. Whom does she have that ranks alongside Luthor, Brainiac, Joker or Sinestro in being able to wreak havoc across the DCU. Even Capt. Cold could probably hold his own in books besides Flash. But Cheetah? Dr. Psycho? Giganta? Whom does Wondy have to keep her tied into the mainstream universe.

    I don’t imagine the JLA is going to get drawn in to an Olympian soap opera. But unless they do, I can’t see how Diana fits in the DCU.

    • Arbor Day
      May 20, 2012 at 2:33 am — Reply

      Men are her rogues gallery.

      But seriously, I don’t see any more an issue with WW crossover than with say any Batman crossover. He probably franchised himself with Batman Inc. just so he’d have less reasons to leave Gotham.

  6. Rocket Rooster
    May 19, 2012 at 10:48 pm — Reply

    Kingpin used to be mainly a Spider-Man villan until Miller used him in Daredevil breaking a mostly unwritten rule that each hero had their ‘specific’ rogues gallery (so to speak). Perhaps WW should face villains from her comrades and even wrangle a few as her own to raise the stakes.

  7. Dan
    May 20, 2012 at 8:01 am — Reply

    I hope majorspoilers is getting a kick back for the candlehead monster.

  8. Ced
    May 20, 2012 at 8:54 am — Reply

    It was a boring issue. I am tired of the olympians and Zola (and ouch she is so badly and inconsistantly drawn).

    I like some of the visual design of the olympian, but gush their personality and roles are so passive-agressive. The way the book is build on blind mystery iis also getting anoying. I would give 2 stars for this issue.

  9. May 21, 2012 at 9:42 pm — Reply

    Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention to her, but for the life of me I can’t pin down what exactly they’re trying to do with WW’s character in Justice League. It doesn’t help that she probably gets the most characterization besides Batman and Green Lantern, with everyone else getting little to none. And what we do get, is them being assholes!

    Do you see, Geoff Johns? Do you see why you’ve driven me to drop Justice League? Maybe I’ll start reading WW instead. Or Animal Man. Or JLI. Or ANYTHING that doesn’t make me hate everything about these “heroes”.

  10. SteveGus
    May 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm — Reply

    Wonder Woman seems to be sleepwalking through her own title. This run is painful to read, like watching someone pull the wings off a butterfly.

    Now, a story that put Wonder Woman under a love spell and had her betrothed to the lord of Hades might be fun — if Azzarello could do fun, and if DC comics were still allowed to be fun. Unfortunately, he can’t and they ain’t. Everything has to be so dark, solemn, and turned to generic Vertigo-style weirdness.

    And, true to Azzarello’s Vertigo roots, the pace is so dull and slow. There are at least three more issues before this arc is finally over. I find it astonishing that an editor would send a superhero title to the press without a single action sequence, anywhere.

    This isn’t a story about Wonder Woman. It’s essentially a gangster soap opera with the Greek gods as the Corleones, that Azzarello and DC are incidentally using to erase Wonder Woman’s personality, history, and her corner of the DC universe. It’s an act of vandalism against an iconic character.

  11. Paulytaylor
    June 9, 2012 at 6:09 am — Reply

    I think the reviewer nailed it. Apart from the art which is inconsistent throughout.

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