Review: Wonder Woman #2 by Brian Azzarello & Cliff Chiang

Okay, let’s tackle the elephant in the room. I got to be careful. The cyber-streets are paved with the crushed souls of the bloggers who have attempted to write about this one. <sigh> Okay, here goes. Comic book fans don’t read Wonder Woman.

We all know this. Heck, I don’t read Wonder Woman. When both Greg Rucka and Gail Simone, two writers I like, were writing the Amazon, I said to myself, I have to check that out one of these days. And I still have yet to do it. And to be honest, I don’t really know why.

It’s not the female hero thing. I like strong fictional women (It’s the real ones I have trouble with! ZING!). I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alias (comic and TV versions), Fringe, Birds of Prey, Kill Bill, and many others. I think it is that we don’t see Wonder Woman as having the modern freedoms that other fictional characters can have.

Over the last 25 years, modern comic book characters have been given the freedom to have casual sex, develop drug problems, get divorced, and have normal relationship issues. In the latest issue of Nightwing, Dick Grayson has sex with a girl who is currently dating another guy, and we generally still think of Dick Grayson as a good guy.

In the same stretch of time, Wonder Woman has been given the freedom to be a warrior and commit murder, and a controversy develops when an artist puts trousers on her. I think the real problem is that writers know this, and it hinders how much freedom they feel in writing about Diana.

Well, if I don’t start reviewing, this is going to turn into a column. Let’s see if Azzarello and company can buck the trend.

Wonder Woman #2: Home
Writer: Brian Azzarello | Artist: Cliff Chiang

In Wonder Woman #1: A woman with a peacock cloak, apparently Hera, is hunting Zola who is one of the latest conquests of her husband Zeus. Hermes, learns of this attack, and sends Zola to Wonder Woman for protection. Diana saves Zola and defeats the creatures who are trying to kill her. Meanwhile, another god uses three women as oracles to learn the status of things.

Synopsis

  • The Goddesses Hera and Strife (also known as Eris) talk about the events of last issue. Strife offers her help.
  • Diana arrives on Paradise Island with Zola and Hermes, and they are found by Queen Hippolyta and the other Amazons.
  • Hermes tells Zola of the legend of Wonder Woman how she was forged from clay.
  • After talking with her mother regarding the situation with Zola and the Gods, Diana is challenged to spar by the Amazon, Aleka.
  • Strife arrives and causes the Amazons to fight each other. When confronted by Diana, she reveals the secret of Wonder Woman’s origins.

Questions and Answers

Question: Do all of the gods know of the truth of Diana’s parentage? Or is this a secret that only few know?

Question: Why was Hera’s wrath spared against Hippolyta?

Question: How did Diana, Zola, and Hermes get to Paradise Island?

Answer: Hermes was not killed by the centaurs, but instead is just severely hurt.

Answer: Most likely it was Aries who used the women as Oracles in Issue #1.

Answer: Zola was completely unaware of having consensual sex with Zeus, and he appeared as any normal guy.

Question: Aries is in a confusion of his own making, according to Strife. What does this mean?

Analysis:

I didn’t find this as good as the first issue of Wonder Woman. It was good. I don’t regret purchasing it, and I’m still looking forward to issue #3, but the bloom is off the rose a little bit. I am still on board for a while, but I hope it returns to the fire of the previous issue.

This may be because I find Diana on Paradise Island to not be very interesting. To me, she is more interesting in the “man’s world” dealing with gods and people as an Amazon who is a stranger to the land. Just me, and I’m sure she will return to the regular world soon enough.

I try to remain mostly spoiler free, but I don’t remain under a blanket either. I think the big reveal would have had much more power, if Diana’s parentage had not been spoiled by every comic book site and newspaper a few weeks ago. I appreciate the story-telling by Hermes of the supposed origin of Wonder Woman, rather than just revealing that she is fathered by Zeus. Pulling in the familiar and then hitting you with the surprise would have been effective, but when the surprise was already spoiled, it lost something in translation.

I really like the imagery of the scion gods dressing like normal humans. Both Aries and Strife have a more interesting look than classic gods look. And it makes sense that Hera is much more Greek looking. The implication being that she has place and duty that goes beyond the easy desires of her children. (At least I think they are her children, I don’t remember Greek god lineage)

Daaaamn, Aleka did NOT go there, did she? Yeah, I guess she did. Wow.

Really, we’re still going to have Diana wearing heeled boots when fighting in a pit of logs? I understand that the heels are part of the classic costume, but the impracticality of this is screaming at me, and I’ve never worn them!

I liked Diana returning to the staff. I remember many classic Wonder Woman stories where she used a staff, especially on Paradise Island.

I really found the interaction of the Amazons to be truthful with how warrior women would spar. The extending of the hand by Diana to Aleka after she has been defeated reveals Wonder Woman’s (and her fellow Amazons) true nature. During battle, no quarter is given, but when the battle is over, the compassion over rules the competitiveness.

The image of Strife being a giant really goes against what we have seen from the gods so far in this series. Hermes seems vulnerable. Hera is the size of the horses in the stables. Ares entertains ladies in a penthouse apartment. So to see Strife seem godlike, walking the Earth, is a little cheesy and unnecessary.

Strife seems like a really cool villainess/goddess. I don’t remember seeing her before. Either that or the punk haircut, makeup, and trashy dress really has thrown me off enough that I don’t remember her.

Verdict:

Okay, I already said that I like it less than issue #1, but that is far from it being a bad comic book. For me it was a solid issue that went through very familiar steps, but executed them reasonably well. I am in for issue #3 certainly.

7.5 (Likeable and in for more)

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