Wonder Woman #0
Written by Brian Azzarello
Art by Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson
The short of it:
It’s Diana’s birthday, and as an Amazon that means something a bit different. It means a culture where the child must present a gift to the parent in order to be recognized as a year older, and this means epic mythological tasks. The gift this year? A Harpie’s egg. On come the celebrations and battle games, as you’d expect from a gathering of Warrior Women, and Diana is challenged by her friend Aleka. Aleka who seeks to demonstrate her superiority before the queen, as well as make the princess look bad. This…doesn’t go as planned, and Diana out fights her despite not realizing at first that Aleka was serious, nor does she realize that Aleka is a sore loser. Apparently if you call Diana ‘Clay’ she will attack in a super angry rage.
Crying in the forest, Diana is met by he who will be her teacher…the God known as War. He sees something special in the girl, something he wishes to cultivate, and the next year is spent with him training her during each and every full moon. All of this leads to her thirteenth birthday, and War taking her to a quest. A journey through a deep and unending maze, one filled with the evidence of failed travelers that have attempted this before. As she journeys deeper she discovers just which mythological location she’s been taken to, and all that it takes to give it away is the Minotaur.
Diana fights the beast with cunning and skill, doing all she can to overcome the strength of the monster. At long last she comes up on top, and War arrives to demand the beasts head as a trophy. Diana considers it, but decides to show mercy and not cut down the defeated monster. War is furious that she would do such a thing, but he did the same for her not too long before. He curses Diana and leaves, but the Minotaur respects her and leaves.
But she still doesn’t have a birthday present for her mom…
What I liked:
- All the little silver age riffs. From the names (Brian “Kiss my” Azzarello and Cliff “Chump” Chiang), to the caption boxes (All-Girl Adventure Tales For Men #41), the book opens up with a vintage feel that really amps up the origin story aspect of it all.
- With the Amazon’s being removed from play almost immediately upon them being introduced in this book, the flashback to Diana growing up gives us a look at the things only hinted at. Removing Diana’s family has helped keep this book moving forward, but now that we’ve seen where she comes from? Well handled.
- I love how mad she got when someone called her “Clay”, I had totally forgotten about that.
- Diana feels like a child and I don’t think I’ve ever read her in that way without a Sins of Youth style storyline attached. I like it, the big eyes and innocence is a far cry from the generally fearless warrior we’ve grown accustomed to.
- I love that Cliff Chiang was here for this issue, so many other titles this month have gone to a non-regular series artist to give the normal artist a break. Cliff makes this book so much better than any fill in artist would have managed, and while we may lose him for an issue coming up…worth it. Diana’s younger years by an imitator or completely different style would have just felt weird.
What I didn’t like:
- War sounded a bit too much like the Mighty Marvel Method of Mythology. In other words, Shakespearean.
Thirteen issues of Grey loving Wonder Woman in a row (pre New 52 record: three).
I like that Diana learns the lesson of mercy from the God of War, it wasn’t intentional on his part, but it’s a very defining character trait for her. That she will fight with all of her might, but that she still values life and respect over simply being the victor.
I hadn’t really thought about the Amazons in a while, not after how they were completely taken out of the book in an earlier issue, and as such I hadn’t really missed them too much. Seeing how Diana was as a kid, surrounding by her sisters, now I feel the loss she suffered.
The fact that the girl is crying to herself in the woods and then a God is asking to train her in the ways of fighting is one of the little things that makes this book. Everything is so spectacular and the characters act as if that’s how they are supposed to be. Any other book and you’d have the writer pointing it out to you in some way, shape, or form about how this is a big OMG moment that changes the character forever because it’s a one in a million encounter. Not here, here you just expect it.
So how long until War shows up and we get him and Diana having a face to face? And what are the odds they just call him Ares for it?
Can I pay an extra dollar every month for eight more pages?
Tags: Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, DC Comics, New 52 (DC Comics), Reviews, Wonder Woman, Zero Month