REVIEW: Wonder Woman #0

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Diana’s already had her origins covered in The New 52, so where does that leave us for a zero issue? Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang would like to take the readers back to 1941 and give us a truly ground floor #0, and Major Spoilers doesn’t mind going along for the ride!

WONDER WOMAN #0
Story: Brian “Kiss My” Azzarello
Art: Cliff “Chump” Chiang
Coloring: “Muddy” Matt Wilson
Lettering: “Jittery” Jared Fletcher
Assists: “Corny” Chris Conroy
Editor: “Malignant” Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in Wonder Woman There’s been a lot of drama between Wonder Woman and her extended family, much of it precipitated by the fallout from her discovery that Zeus is her biological father. However, as we are told in the introductory narrative box of this issue, in this “Before the New 52″ issue “No one knows this–not even us, who call her… WONDER WOMAN!”

MORE OF A #-600 ISSUE THAN A #0

I’ll tip my hand a bit and let you know that this is probably my second favorite zero issue so far this month, with Batwoman #0 being my favorite. It stands out from the rest of the pack in several ways, most noticeably the fact that this is done in the style of a golden age Wonder Woman comic. In fact it claims to be a story that originally appeared in “All-Girl Adventure Tales for Men #41″, a clever choice that probably sent many people to Google, only for them to find out that the comic never actually existed. It also pulls in a silver age phenomenon, giving all the creators clever and/or alliterative nicknames.

To capture the feel of a golden age book properly narration boxes are used on nearly a third of the panels, and other than the opening page there isn’t a page in the book with less than four panels–and most of them have at least six. The dialogue is very golden-agey, and the story features a much younger Wonder Woman than we’ve seen in the New 52–more of a Wonder Girl in fact, and her costume takes elements from Donna Troy’s Wonder Girl.

The story also has a very golden age vibe, with Diana trying to secure a suitable present to give her mother, as in the Amazonian culture apparently you must present the queen with a present in order to have your own birthday actually count. As Diana presents a harpy’s egg to the queen, Ares stands in the shadows and observes that the young Amazon shows ability beyond her years, and the god of war comes to her at a weak moment and recruits her to train under him. This starts a great training sequence worthy of any movie; it uses some great training montage tropes, and because of the golden age trappings none of the cliches seem worn at all.

The inclusion of Ares in this flashback issue adds a heretofore unseen element into The New 52 Wonder Woman’s background that fleshes out her character in an interesting way, as well as adds a new classic villain into her gallery that I’m sure Azzarello will use in the future.

KEEP THE CHIANG

Cliff Chiang is one of the best artists in the business right now, with powerful, crisp lines and a lot of nuance to his facial expressions. He does a good job of subtly changing his typical art style to fit in with the golden age theme of the book, but not so much that you’d actually think this was from the 1940s. Part of that comes from the coloring; rather than try to ape a golden age coloring style, both the palette and the technique for the colors are modern.

BOTTOM LINE: A WONDER-FUL ISSUE

DC’s grand experiment with the Zero Month has had some great hits and some serious misses, and Wonder Woman stands with the former. Azzarello and Chiang simultaneously make this issue feel 100% as if it’s “Before the New 52″ (well before) and add to Diana’s history, while also adding something that advances the overall story. While this is certainly a done in one issue, we’ll be seeing the ramifications of it in the Wonder Woman ongoing from here on out, I’m sure. Wonder Woman #0 does everything a zero issue should, and did it with flying colors, earning a full five out of five stars.

Rating: ★★★★★

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