Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang are bringing us yet another reimagining of the Wonder Woman character, having a strong mythological bent and incredible art.
Wonder Woman #1
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist and Cover: Cliff Chiang
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Associate Editor: Chris Conroy
Editor: Matt Idelson
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously in Wonder Woman: Diana, princess of Themyscira, was created out of clay by queen Hippolyta of the Amazons, and blessed with the powers of various Greco-Roman deities by Athena. She then became the ambassador for Themyscira to the world of men, and participated in some bondage-filled hijinks courtesy of William Moulton Marston. Eventually J. Michael Straczynski took over the character and gave her a hard retcon that involved a controversial costume change, and made her wear pants. Now we see how Diana has fared in the DC relaunch, and how much of her ever-changing history will change again.
PANTS OR NO PANTS, THIS WOMAN’S WONDERFUL
This book raised my hackles on the first page with a typo, where the mysterious villain-type mentions that he’s the “sun” of a king. As someone who’s very particular about spelling and grammar (just wait, having mentioned that I’ll probably make half a dozen mistakes in this review), a typo in a comic book never fails to irk me. I did my best to get over it and enjoy the book, and was quite pleased by the level of mythology that Brian Azzarello has brought to everyone’s favorite Amazon (Donna Troy is automatically excluded, as she is currently in relaunch limbo with Wally West and Ted Kord). We see a figure wearing a cloak of peacock feathers, which immediately triggered my memories of studying mythology for Quiz Bowl in High School, and told me we were dealing with Hera. After she evinces her hatred of farm animals via evisceration, we find Hermes (cue on the helmet and the wings on his shoes) warning an unfamiliar woman named Zola that she needs to get the heck out of Dodge.
Zola is parading around her farm house in a flannel shirt and purple panties, yet unlike a couple other DC titles that came out this week, she doesn’t seem to be drawn as a sexual object; just as an everyday woman dressing casually. Cliff Chiang is doing the art on this issue, and it is absolutely gorgeous. Chiang really understands how to work within the medium of a comic book. His art reminds me a bit of what I consider to be the Boom Studios house style, with the strong inks that make everything really pop off the page. Some of the character poses also remind me of Bruce Timm’s art.
We don’t actually meet up with Wonder Woman until halfway through the issue, and when we do, she insists that Zola call her Diana, rather than Wonder Woman. Again I am drawn more to Cliff Chiang’s art than I am to Azzarello’s story (which is good, don’t get me wrong, but the art is just so perfect). Chiang manages to do what very few can, drawing a powerful, physically intimidating Wonder Woman who is attractive, but not the overly sexual character who has the second most important pair of breasts in the DCU. Even the lack of pants doesn’t really come off as extremely sexual, though I did prefer that aspect of her character redesign. Having first read Red Hood and the Outlaws and Catwoman this week, I found this particularly refreshing.
Wonder Woman doesn’t really seem to be the protagonist of this first issue, instead Zola seems to be what is going to drive the plot forward. This will probably change to a degree as the series progresses, but I think it would be interesting if Azzarello were to have a Wonder Woman story where Diana took on more of a Sandman role; being an integral part of the book, but having the stories really be about the side characters. There’s a lot of violence in the issue, but if you’ve seen the Wonder Woman animated movie you certainly won’t be all that put off.
BOTTOM LINE: I GUESS DIANA DOESN’T NEED EMERGENCY PANTS
This issue again doesn’t explain a whole lot and instead throws us in medias res, but it works out pretty well. Azzarello’s always going to be writing a really deep story, and being paired with an artist as talented as Cliff Chiang I am definitely on for the foreseeable future. Get out to your local comic shop and buy a copy of this issue; Azzarello and Chiang are doing some great stuff on Wonder Woman that you won’t want to miss. Four out of five stars!
What makes you think “sun” is a typo here?
Seems to be Apollo – god of the sun, or some would say a personification of it.
I didn’t see this as a typo either. I saw it as being a clue to the only thing remarkable about the book in the context of what I, a relative WW newbie, knew about the character: she’s got something to do with gods and such.
I’m not sure I’m in the market for another book displaying publisher X’s take on the pantheon of gods, of the Greek persuasion or otherwise. There are other things I know about the character that I thought they were going to hit on…maybe I’m wrong; maybe the character has had so many directions that they had to choose one….IDK. With a relaunch like this I really needed WW to be really full of greatness to stay off the chopping block.
The way they chose was not for me. I’ll get my WW in JL.
I also considered the element of him being the sun god, but dismissed it; the phrasing “I guess you could say I’m the sun of a king” doesn’t strike me as grammatically sound if the correct connotation was that he was Apollo. I could be wrong, and Azzarello could be giving us a big hint here, but my impression was that it was just a typo.
I certainly wouldn’t mind being wrong though; it would be an interesting twist for this to be Apollo, and he was indeed the child of Zeus and Leto rather than Zeus and Hera, so given the data we have it could fit.
Yeah, I’d say he’s probably Apollo as well, as everyone said about the imagery, the light behind his eyes, the sun rising at the end. Plus, Apollo being the Greek god of Sun and Light and being Zeus’s son from Leto with a twin sister in Artemis, he is a Sun of a King. It just sounds like he might be slightly douchey and that’s the kind of stupid inside joke that he has with himself. It reminds me of Adam Sandler in Little Nicky with his saying he’s from the South, the Deep South and then laughing to himself.
I totally agree, especially with all the “Sun” images around him, and the burning. I think it’s more a hint, not of Apollo maybe, but something else from mythology.
I think you’re actually right. Apollo was the “Sun god” and Helios was a titan who was the personification of the sun. Throughout much of history, the two were often just amalgamated into the same being. So Apollo could be considered the Sun god, personification of the sun, and the very being who actually rode the sun across the sky in a chariot. There are too many clues in the issue that points to the character being Apollo, or the Apollo/Helios hybrid.
I just brushed it off as a heavy-handed pun.
This is just wrong!! This isn’t Diana from Marston’s vision – it isn’t any version of WW so far – what it is, is simply yet another (bad) example of the current DC editorial policy mantra – “let’s shock people with sex and violence and maybe they’ll buy the shitty things for a while so we can make money and get Warner’s off our back- and if not, we’ll change them into something else!!”
I loathe Chiang’s artwork – he can’t draw people – too stiff/”posy” and unreaslistic! Art is subjective so obviously many don’t agree – but personally even the crap Kirby or Ditko schools could’ve done better!!
After many, many years as a WW fan – count me out!
I’m not certain if my reference to Marston in the “Previously…” paragraph was misunderstood, or if your statement isn’t related to mine, but I do agree this isn’t Marston’s Diana.
So should she go back to Marston’s old Bondage fodder, or back to Super Friends and fly around in her invisible plane? Wonder Woman’s been boring and underwhelming for years, at least this seems slightly in line with a Xena-like view of the character, lets give this style a shot for a while and we can always go back to the bland Miss America swimsuit model that we’ve seen for the past couple decades. The last Wonder Woman book I picked up was a TPB with Nemesis in it from the library and I literally had to force myself to finish the book, it was so boring. I liked that in it she found out that the Wonder Woman action figures were on sale and they didn’t sell as well as Batman or Superman, but other than that little one-off comment, it was unbearable. At least this is readable and interesting, she is the creation of a God and she’s Amazonian, it does suck when she’s just stuck fighting criminals in an alley.
One thing I can say though is that maybe, just maybe, they’re going to think from here to re-create her character into something that might play well in a movie. They have the chance to work on building the character into something that could support a tv series or a full length feature film instead of the Ally McWonder Woman thing people crapped on before it came out. (and then from what I heard, rightfully so after seeing the pilot)
I thought the issue was good, but not great. Definitely a 3 star affair.
I have a feeling I’ll need to read this until issue about issue 6 before I decide if I like where this run is going.
I’ll stay in based on Azzarello’s past performances (I am deliberately forgetting that Flashpoint Batman miniseries)
Had the artist been anyone other than Cliff Chiang, I probably would’ve gone three stars as well, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Chiang ever since he did that Gen Lost cover with Batman outside JLI headquarters.
I thought the ‘sun of a king’ was a delightfully funny pun. Apollo WAS worshiped heavily by kings, and he’s the son of the king of the gods… Okay, it’s not PERFECT, but it made me laugh.
I’m disappointed about how little of Diana’s characterization we got to see, but I honestly LOVED the story. Azzarello’s take on mythology, and the whole thing reminded me of Neil Gaiman with less wit but cooler art and more action.
I don’t recognize this WW, I’ll pick up the next 2 and see but so far color me “meh”.
This is currently my favorite book so far, but then i’m a huge mythology geek and love where it took it all.
Having read WW for close to 25 years, I am completely intrigued by this ‘new’ Diana.
Diana has always been a warrior born of the Amazon race, it will always be important that she hold herself with dignity (as she does here) and grace… This does not mean she also need be the queen of platitudes that she an sometimes be portrayed as. After the actual horror of the previous, unintelligible story arc (whatever the hell that was), I am so pleased to be on solid ground with Gods & Monsters Intact… Bravo DC, I have my Amazon Princess back, all gumption, Hell & Fury…
I haven ‘t been this excited for the next issue since Perez…
The new WW sucks. Very disappointed. Artwork is awful story not much better. Ive collected WW since the 70s. Always a big fan of most DC titles. No longer the case.