Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Wonder Woman #7 review

If you've no attachment to the Wonder Woman legend, I can see that this comic could go down well. It's full of relationships that get more interesting by the page, clever moments of action and unexpected revelations.

As a longtime fan of Diana, I enjoyed the introduction of two more of her relatives, Eros, a love god by way of La Dolce Vita and 100 Bullets, and Hephaestus, beastly-looking blacksmith to the gods, arms like Ben Grimm with sunburn. I loved that Diana showed the smith that she doesn't need a deadlier version of her magic lariat, and his later assertion of how its truth abilities work (I'm not saying that I believe them!). I liked the battle with a lava lizard sent by Hades, and Diana's attempt to inspire a revolt among those she sees as oppressed workers.

But would someone please introduce writer Brian Azzarello to the work of Wonder Woman creators William Moulton Marston and Harry Peter? I'm not meaning the bondage business, just the nature of the Amazons. They're warriors, yes, but they're fighting for love. They want to enlighten the world, spread the message of goodness.

They don't, oh, let's take something off the top of my head, seduce sailors for sperm (insert your own seamen/semen gag), turn them into empty husks, then throw them into the sea. They don't, nine months later, swap any newborn boys to Hephaestus in return for weapons.

I get that Azzarello pitched his Wonder Woman run as a horror story. This take on the Amazons fits right in with such an approach, But it's just not an approach that should be used for Wonder Woman's sisters - they're supposed to be the good guys, but here they're monsters. Succubi.

We only have Hephaestus' word for it that this is how things go down, but there's no feeling that he's being duplicitous, and he certainly has a very grateful gang of likely male Amazons working for him. The revelation really soured the first issue I was properly enjoying in ages; it's bad enough that Diana is related to scumbug gods without the other side of the family being beyond vile too.

Back to the good stuff. I like Eros, he's entertainingly Italian. I like Hephaestus, because he saves orphan kids. I like that Diana is smiling here, that she has an easy confidence rather than unearned arrogance. I like that we learn something of the source of Lennox's knowledge. There really is a lot of good craft on display in Azzarello's script - Hephaestus would be proud.
And the artwork of illustrator Cliff Chiang and colourist Matthew Wilson is exemplary, taking us through the story step by good-looking step. Their newest creations, Hephaestus and Eros, fit into this world of ever-surprising god forms, while the lava monster is a hoot and the (reviving a horrible old term, here) Manazons look great in and out of their workwear. And Chiang's cover is a beaut.

I just wish this creative team wouldn't twist Wonder Woman's world quite so much as they're attempting to redefine her for a new century.

93 comments:

  1. I liked the issue and the male Amazons, but still don't know how I feel about the FEMALE Amazons, pretty shocking
    but Azzarelo said that we were gonna scream...
    at least, they are really making something new (even with the idea of "seminal vessels" being somehow old... Bana-Migdhall?)
    Besides, Diana is awesome in this issue, as all the other characters
    and I liked the jump... reminds the TV series haha

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    1. And scream I did, Jack! Diana was certainly improved here, I'll give Azz that!

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  2. With each successive issue DC falls further and further away from how Wonder Woman should be represented, and whilst she does nothing intrinsically wrong here in this issue, its the Amazons who will pick up the critical slack which Diana will end up having to endure in the long run. I cant see anyone taking to this new take on them without it ruining the book.
    On the plus side, the plot is subtly molding shape and moving forward at a graduated pace, with a Diana whose confidence is further shaped with a peripethetic boldening which underlies one component of Azzarello's writing; this WW is just as much of a player as the Gods she's seemingly being at the whims and mercies of, and this can only be a good thing. I like a Diana who plays a game by her own rules and refuses to conform, even when conformity envisions what could be a much clearer outcome for her.
    Oh, and the art was so much better this time around, too.

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    1. The art was fab, wasn't it, Karl? As for the Amazons, I think we need some of Hippolyte's memory-wiping mists, and sharpish.

      Then again, these days they'd likely poison all the menfolk.

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  3. Is the new Wonder Woman gay? I have no clue but comments on page 6 seem to make it a possibility.

    Eros: "Really? My mother [Aphrodite] finds it lacking."
    Lennox:"Eh? Wha's wrong with her, then?"
    Wonder Woman: "Absolutely Nothing" (Nothing in italic and bold)
    Eros:"Careful there, Wonder Woman..."

    For Wonder Woman to say that about the goddess of beauty/love and the mythical most beautiful woman in the world sounds a bit more like an than an interested party than just a fan. Also could somewhat fit in with Justice League #7 (new this week) where Steve Trevor told us that he "loves her," she knows that but doesn't feel the same way.

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    1. Lesbian? Not controversial enough. It'll be ferrets, you mark my words, And chairs.

      Good idea as regards Steve in JLA.

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    2. Ferrets? Oh, I'm totally in, then. ;)

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    3. Maybe lesbian, but I feel that would be incongruous with what's happening in Justice League to say the least. I mean, why have Steve exhibit feelings for her when there is no chance at all of them ever being reciprocated due to Diana's sexual orientation. Also, I feel that some people wouldn't take too kindly to a lesbian Wonder Woman: "just because she's a strong female character doesn't mean she's a lesbian." And you know, I sort of agree with that. It seems, sometimes, that making strong women characters into lesbians is a way of making them more masculine, so that they're not too feminine, too much like girls.

      Now, that being said, I think maybe making Wonder Woman bisexual would be a less controversial path that Azzarello could take. But, even so, I'm not that invested in her sexual orientation, but I sort of want to see her end up with Steve.

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    4. Oh Good Lord, after everything else, it'd be typical of the creative team to make Diana a lesbian. Then again, Batwoman ('proud lesbian Kate Kane') likely has that covered.

      I'd also like Diana and Steve to get together, apart from a brief period in the Seventies, they've never properly dated.

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  4. I don't really see have a problem with the new information about how Amazons reproduce. Azzarelo is making them closer to their origins in greek mythology -- they mate with men from a nearby tribe and either kill their sons, leave them to die from exposure, or if possible give them to their fathers. The current Amazons aren't what Marston imagined, but they are very true to their roots and puts Wonder Woman in a very interesting position. I loved how her immediate response was to say screw the weapons and try to her new brothers -- no other hero from Greek Myth would have ever attempted to do that.

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    1. Yeah, I see what you're getting at, Nick, but the comic book Amazons have never skewed especially closely to the women of myth. Diana's ancestors are strictly the comic book women, from Marston on, and they'd never have acted like this.

      (And no one mention the Godawful Amazons Attack or Flashpoint, I may just faint.)

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  5. Azzarello is taking the "reboot" seriously

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    1. True, and he seems to be enjoying the controversy.

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  6. The world of Wonder Woman new 52 is different from the old Wonder Woman, and that's the point. The new 52 wasn't just about renumbering the comics, it was about re-imagining them, and that's what Azzarello is doing. Expecting this book to be very similar to what came before is missing the point.

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    1. Fair comment, though the re-imagining approach is pretty durn inconsistent when you look at the likes of the GL and Batman titles.

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  7. I'm only slightly aware of the WW character from before the reboot so I don't really know much about the amazons and what they're supposed to represent. But the revelations about predatory amazons and the boys being carted off to work for Hephaestus seems consistent with the the new direction that Azzarello talked about at the relaunch: that he was turning this more into a horror book. Personally, I quite enjoyed this issue.

    I do like the modern versions of the gods though. It took me a while to realise that Eros has guns of love rather than bow and arrow. And Hephaestus wearing a walking frame kinda device around his knees was just an attractive piece of attention to detail to me.

    It's just a shame that WW herself gets relatively little to do in the comic - she almost seems just one character in an ensemble cast rather than the star of her own comic! Still not liking this Lennox character who seems to have appeared pretty much from nowhere though.

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    1. With luck, Rob, once Azzarello has told his big opening arc, things will get less crowded and Diana will be the star of her own book. I could certainly do without Lennox sticking around.

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  8. As a story engine the old ways had pretty much crapped out. Low sales, low interest, low buzz. Marston's Amazons were also elitist and misandrist so I don't mind a logical extension of how they view men. I'd prefer their isolation to have made them progress scientifically and philosophically but think this is as equally valid and very well written.

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    1. I'm not sure I'd call Marston's Amazons elitist so much as elite, Steve, and wishing to spread their ways of doing things, bringing everyone 'up', in their view. 'Misandrist'? Obviously, they were of the belief that women were the better sex, but actively man-hating? Not so much.

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  9. My feelings on the change to the Amazons are: I'm interested, but they better be building something worthwhile with this.

    I can totally understand why longtime WW fans would be upset, though.

    Loved Hephaestus's leg braces, btw!

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    1. Yeah, Heph is a top design, and no mistake!

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  10. Guess what, Azz ditched the old WW mythology and instead uses actual Greek mythology in an absolutely masterful way. How about you do your homework and appreciate or just mention that? And why do you even expect him to follow the old stories, I don't understand it, after all it's a reboot.

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    1. Well, the business of Amazons as murderous monsters isn't in any ancient Greek myths I've come across - care to cite your sources?

      And while comments are welcome, a rude tone ain't - especially as you're going the Anonymous route.

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    2. Well,I'm not the person from the previous comment but I'll give the Anonymous poster the point that, thought they are not exactly based in Greek Myth, Azzarello is reinventing the "Myths" in a "modern" (not perfect or untouchable) way.

      This is the Wonder Woman now. It's not perfect. And it works more as a Tragedy than a comic book, but it's the Wonder Woman. Let's sing its praises, let's shout her falls, but well the comparative literature bussiness starts to become old after a time. Though I have to admit that you are entitled to your opinion, a review should be less this is what it was, and more this is what can be/it is. Sorry if that sounds as an attack, it's not. I enjoy your reviews, but is something that has come to bother me in the end.

      Moving to more sourcing matters, I think Azzarello is going the Spartan Way with the Amazons; they kill not the imperfect, but the men (almost the same way). And some historical accounts (Herodotus, Plutarch and others) tell of Amazons as womans who raided near villages for mates (oh, there is a non-sexual sailor joke), though they lived in slavery or, if in love, they could abandon society and settle away. Not monsters per se, but at least a possible source for the Azzarello depiction.

      Anyways, sorry for the bad grammar. The Incoherent Rant, and all the other things. Keep the good reads and have a nice day. Thanks.

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    3. No apology necessary, Chris, thanks for some interesting and insightful comments. And a top sailor gag.

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  11. Hello Martin:- I agree with everything you've said, from the mention of the importance of Marston and Peters to the ferrets. I'm sure you know how appalled I am by the man-humpin''n'killing Amazons business.

    Just what we need, another comic portraying strong women as sexual predators given to killing the strangers they have sex with. Except here it's the only matriarchal nation of any standing in the superhero universes.

    Heartbreaking, blood-pressure-raising trash. Nicely told, of course, with some lovely touches for the male members of the cast. But then, that's the problem.

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    1. Our writer certainly seems to favour the fellas in his scripts, which is why I was surprised to finally see Diana a bit more front and centre this time. She really does need to take charge of this situation, though.

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  12. Wonder Woman fought for love. The Amazons? I don't believe they did. They hide away on a sterile island for thousands of years and patted themselves on the back on how wonderful they were. How can you fight for love but reject the world? And history has so many examples of brutality when judged by modern standards. Eg Some of the actions of past Queens of England were very brutal but they were loved and admired for it. Same here is how I see the Amazons...a tribe of warriors whose actions make sense during the time they lived. The Amazons never walked the walk. They talked and stayed on their precious island. Marston's ideas feel very very outdated regrading the Amazons in my opinion. Azzarello is trying to examine the myth and aligning it to greek mythology. It's refreshing to read a challenging take on WW's often mary sue world.

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    1. Interesting comments, but don't get me started on British royalty!

      I do see what you're getting at as regards Amazons, but my take is that the Amazons as a benevolent family to Diana is as fundamental to the Wonder Woman strip as a good-hearted Thomas and Martha Wayne is to Batman, or Jor-El and Lara to Superman. Presenting them as man-using murderers for the sake of a 'modern' portrayal is a step too far for me (you likely noticed!). IAnyway, thanks for engaging!

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  13. I’m loving and I’m excited for each and every issue of this new version, so for as long as WW herself remains noble and true to her core, the present team can twist everything they want and I wouldn’t mind. I like it that WW has a sense of humor and is confidently assertive (which is why Loebs’ is one of my favorite runs), and that she can mock the gods (“absolutely nothing”). The last scene in # 7 is just priceless---talk about the sins of the mothers.

    I actually found the Bana Migdhallians (Batiri, Nehebka, Anahid) more compelling/honorable than Hippolyta’s at-times-sanctimonious lot, so the new revelation didn’t bother me at all. Still, I suspect that the full story is not out yet. From the earlier issues, it appears that not all Amazons are made from the same mold and the gods more capricious this time around.

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    1. Talking about gods...

      How the blipping blip are all the mythologies gonna coexist in one little crowded world?

      Anyways, I forgot to say something in my last comment. You gotta love that Eros. And his father.

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    2. Arnold, I'm sure you're right, and that there's more story to be told in terms of the things Diana's been told - as with Lennox, a stranger pops up and turns her world on its head with a claim she's very quick to believe. Whatever the case, I'm glad you're enjoying the book ... and it's always good to hear from a Bill Loebs fan (loved that Retroactive special last year!).

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    3. Chris, are you suggesting a DC New 52 War of the Gods? Noooooo!

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    4. It's gonna happen sooner or later. War of the 52 Gods!!!

      Btw, is there a Thor in Dc, or he is trademarked to Marvelman???

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    5. There was an Earth 2 Thor in All-Star Squadron, way back when. I don't believe Marvel can trademark Thor, just their version.

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  14. I don't object to Azarello's plot choices. I think making the Amazons villains (because that's what they now appear to be) is a bold and interesting move. I mean, after all, this IS supposed to be a re-boot, and he's done more rebooting than most of his fellow new-52 writers.

    What I do object to is the ham-fisted way he does it. Are we really supposed to believe Diana grew up on "Paradise" Island and had no knowledge of all this? Throughout Azarello's entire run to date, the plots have relied on different characters randomly knowing, or randomly failing to know, key information.

    I'm starting to suspect he is not actually a very good writer.

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    1. I had the zz in my post but it looked wrong so I changed it. It was right though, wasn't it?

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    2. I've not read enough Azzarello (yeah, I reckon your zeds were correct!) to be able to risk an assessment - but boy, I hated his Superman. Liked Dr 13, though.

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  15. Here's the big problem with new WW that I've seen.. Wonder Woman isn't the main character, EVERYONE ELSE IS. Azzarello has taken no time to develop Wonder Woman and do anything to show that she's an interesting and compelling character in her own right, he's just written interesting STORIES around Diana, not about Diana or really involving Diana. She just kinda is there and reacts. This is a HUGE problem. DC has gotten a nice quick boost from this relaunch of WW, the problem is.. they don't have a remotely compelling and interesting heroine that can support her own series. She's a one dimensional warrior from a race of only warriors that deals with petty jealous gods. Tbh, I see this whole thing as a huge folly and it will lead Diana down the same boring, aloof personality that people hated in the last DC. She doesn't have a rogue's gallery except her Gods again, she has no supporting cast (except Zola, whom she doesn't like). Eventually you run out of stories with Gods and that means that DC will have to go back to the old way that failed.. trying to make Diana interesting by constantly switching things with each new writer. It was so dreadful. Also, WHY DOES SHE EVEN HAVE A FREAKING LASSO IF SHE ISN'T EVEN GOING TO USE IT? it's clearly just there for decoration.

    Also, the idea that we're going to rehash mythology b/c that somehow makes a better story, well the problem is for the most part.. We've SEEN THIS. The only new thing is really how the gods look and how random gods act with the demi-goddess Diana (if they do at all and even sometimes it's just how they've treated various OTHER demi-gods/characters in the past). This series really is about a rather boring Xena trapped in Hercules the Legendary Journey and it's not that compelling to me because of that (Not to mention I like compelling and interesting characters not just.. stories that a character gets dragged along by the story b/c well.. the CHARACTER drives the story since it's about them). Once DC runs out of rehash of myths that everyone already knows, what then?

    Also if anyone has seen Futurama, how can ANYONE look at the Amazons and not think that they're killing men with Snoo Snoo? It's bad when Futurama parodies your ideas 11 years before you even WRITE THEM.

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    1. Jan. there's really nothing for me to add - I'm off to have your post transferred to a t-shirt ...

      Thank you!

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    2. "Jan," may I quote you on my site? This seems to sum things up very well. What bothers me more about this reboot is that Wonder Woman no longer has any chance of having relevance in a modern world, as a modern woman. Now she is relegated to a mythological past... with mythology that seemingly has no power in the world anyway, so why should we care about it? I mean, are characters in Batman quaking in their boots over angering the gods? Do the Green Lanterns need to appeal to them in order to get their jobs done? No. Why? Because the gods don't matter.

      If we're to pay this much attention to them, they should. And there should be more a mix of females in with those gods as well. Heck, a mix of females in the entire cast. Why is Diana the token female in her own book?

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    3. feel free to quote me or make a t-shirt. I don't mind :). I've had issues with this WW since day one and it just keeps getting worse. What really piss me off? Non-WW fans tell me this is the best we can get! Because the old Amazons, the old WW, it's all boring and it can't POSSIBLY be modernized.
      Imagine this: Amazons shown as women once again of advanced intellect, great with science and magic and Paradise Island/Themyscira being a utopia of peace and prosperity. Diana, the young princess of this perfect world (formed of clay again and granted life by the gods), comes to man's world to teach the ways of peace after learning about the conflicts of the modern world with terrorists killing women and children for political reasons and wars over whose religion is right. Princess Diana wants to stop that even the violence of the inner cities in America sickens Princess. So she uses her powers as Wonder Woman, to stop people from killing each other and spread a message that there is a better way. How is that not modern?
      They could even modernize Diana Prince by making her a drone pilot in the US Army or a member of the Peace Corps, going around the world helping people with a handsome, young Steve Trevor at her side as Diana Prince's protector and sometimes helper to Wonder Woman. And I think it'd be awesome if we have Diana Prince completely mortal vs. WW with powers.. it'd balance things well and I've always thought WW needed that down time to relate better with people. Just some of my opinions. Of course, I'm sure a real writer could do better.. :)

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    4. Great points as ever, Carol, and a killer final question. Wouldn't it be great to one next issue and find Diana front and centre, cleaning up the mess around her. As it is, I expect her to wind up with some kind of Pyrrhic victory, one instigated by Lennox or Hermes.

      ('one' in that second sentence is meant to be 'open', I blame the gods.)

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    5. I doubt you'll be surprised to hear I like your ideas, Jan. I'm assuming that many of these fans who think that the Amazons as murderers is a blow for realism, are teenagers raised on first person shooter video games. Suddenly the Amazons are 'cool' and 'kick ass', as if there's something intrinsically clever about taking lives..

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    6. Nah, the fans of the Amazons as killers are all about the "CLASSICAL MYTH" idea. They love the idea that Azzarello is drawing from myths, myths created by a society that was not a huge fan of women and then later translated by societies not too into women either. It's also a fact that his interpretation of the Amazons is clearly flawed. I also don't understand the people that like that Diana is nothing more than a Demi-Goddess, it makes her no longer remotely special, she's just another of the bazillions. The funny thing is NONE of the people who love this are actual Wonder Woman fans that I've seen and they'll openly admit it, but they like this current one because the story is good.. Not because anything about the character draws them to her. The moment these flashy stories are gone, they will be gone.. This will end in ruin for Diana and DC will blame Diana and say she cannot sell even when they try to make her "new and cool"..

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    7. I get your point, man. Pretty good summary. But I have a bone to pick. There is a whole literary genre about main characters doing nothing. It's called Tragedy. And it's not nothing per se. It's a suffer fate kind of nothing.

      I laughed with the futurama reference. I'm going to fatten myself to put this properly on a t-shirt.

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    8. Oh aye, just flaunt yer slimness!

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  16. Casual reader of WW here.

    I appreciate some things in the reboot, but there is also a lot of things that I find boring.

    Mainly, I don't find interesting that WW is the daughter of Zeus, instead of making her unique, this kind of make her cliché and bland. It make her origin feel too easy, like if all her heroism is simply due to her having divine blood. For me it deprotagonize her a little.

    I also don't appreciate the casting of the amazone culture as being villain and based on murder. I would prefer a more neutral status with good, bad and in the middle cultural elements and individuals. I also don't quite get the horror vibe, some elements were pointing in that direction, like the centaur growing out of the decapitated horses. But Horror?? I am not seeing it or feeling it.

    That said I like the gods designs, they are greats (except maybe for Hera), but they take too much spotlight, WW just don't feel like the main protagonist of her own series. All in all I think this is my main issue.

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  17. ... And your thoughts are going on the back, Cedric. I really miss Wonder Woman.

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  18. Hiya Mart, personally loving the new take. I think it is clever that Azz has tossed this out there. I loved Perez's take and even that was far from flawless. Did not care for Marston's so much or even Lynda Carter's but back then I was not concerned about the Amazons so much as Diana and she spent most of her time in the world so...technically the Amazons were never truly explored. We had to accept they we all zen like and really sweet and kind etc when as people say they really were isolating and a bit arrogant. I see some people arguing it is a blow to feminism (again...rolls eyes) etc but I really don't know what that has to do with it. Are we saying we are obliged to not write women as having some darkness or flaws in them? That women are not capable of making mistakes as men? And was this a mistake for a race who is trying to survive in a savage time? Taking what Azz wrote here, makes sense to me they could do that A society like the Amazons would have good,bad and all shades of grey. When the revelation hits Diana in the gut...it hits us... you as a reader can say you truly walk in her shoes. You can feel her pain because what she believed to be true is not. How brilliant is that? I think what remains now is to see how Azz deals with all these reveals... in helping Diana grow. And to me Diana is the same ( I hope he works on her motivation for coming out into the world too)and Hippolyta feels to me even more sympathetic and flesh and blood than she has ever been. Liking this does not in any way change who WW is for me.

    In any case I am always suspicious of families who say they have no skeletons in their closet and we talking a family that lived for thousands of years. :D

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    1. Hi Hellacre13, good to hear from you. I just don't see how Azzarello is showing the Amazons as comprising shades of grey ... what he's doing is showing that their society is built on a great evil; no grey, just black. I can't believe this is the only way they can 'survive in a savage time'. It's fair to say, there are other ways to meet men.

      I do agree, that I feel a gut pain from all this. How, though, can you feel sympathy for Hippolyta? She's leading a pack of sex-crazed murderesses.

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  19. Hi Hellacre13, I mainly agree with you. Especially about Diana dealing with finding the truth. But on the other hand, having the amazon civilization being build on mass murder is extreme, we are far away from shades of grey and having some flaws. If everything is dark and grim and horrible, the horror loose strength and impact.

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    1. Oops, you made the point already - nice one!

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  20. I don't have a problem with the depiction of the Amazons. Marston's take on them was a rather odd and idiosyncratic one, part of the potential of the New 52 might be thought to be a chance to lose some of that bizarre baggage and reclaim the Greek mythos while modernizing it and yet retaining it's initial strange-ness (I mean the initial of the Greek myths, not Marston's depiction).

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    1. Let me try to clarify my last sentence...If you're familiar with Greek myth, you can't help but notice that the myths are otherwordly and weird, in a "man, this is more than a little disconcerting" sort of way. Marston's mythos was weird in the "women riding giant Kangaroos" way...

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    2. Yes, 'odd and idiosyncratic' - that's a good thing. Bit by bit, Brian Azzarello is making Diana less unique, an imitation of her imitators. It's depressing. It was the kangas and the like that helped Wonder Woman catch on. There are plenty of takes on the Classical gods, but only one Wonder Woman.

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  21. I agree about the Greek mythos being weird. I enjoy this kind of weird, but I think I would also enjoy Maston's kind of weird.

    My issue with modernizing mythos is that often the truly weird is lost once it pass in the modernizing filter, because this filter often try to make everything more "realistic" by coloring everything with modern tropes. Sometime those tropes are tired (but not always, I agree).

    I think what I find boring is that the rebooted WW is yet a other try at greek mythology modernization. We have already seen and read so many variations of this in many comic books and other medias.

    I would be curious to see instead a modernization of the Marston's mythos.

    Anyway one my issue with the series up to date is that the series is too much about revealing the cool modernized reinterpretation of the greek mythos instead of being about WW. I think we have enough intrudced elements, now I want to see those elements interact together in ways that directly affect WW and I want to see those elements respond to WW actions.

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    1. I get your point and as to a modernization, the Amazons have to have a good reason for hiding way. It does not hold water at all now.And if Diana comes into the world as she does, boy she would be in for a rough ride if she thinks she was hear to teach us how to live. It would be interesting to wonder if Hephaestus is telling the whole truth? If he was lying it would be ironic not because the Amazons are not seen in a negative light...it reflects on the readers and our reactions to this. Are we really this judgmental? But to me, it is greater if Diana even while bearing this terrible news of her people, she still had faith in her sisters and mother to try to redeem them. Because despite it all, she was raised with affection. It would show Diana IS better than all of us.

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    2. I don't know how you can modernize Maston. His stuff was really goofy Silver Age before the Silver Age type stuff. You'd be reading it and you'd say "what was that guy smoking" every other page...The weirdness of the Greek myths on the other hand can easily modernized I think, in this age of "weird" horror stories such as The Ring and the like...

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    3. Well, Hellacre, Diana is in a better position than us readers to judge whether or not she's being lied to, given she knows the Amazons, and she's with Hephaestus, so can read him. I don't see it reflecting badly on readers if we are being lied too; well, not on those of us appalled at the idea of murderous Amazons - it doesn't look good on the message board posters who love the idea.

      What we should be getting is some kind of internal dialogue from Diana - she's the title character but we really don't know how she's feels about the people around her.

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  22. I agree that there’s somewhat a Xena vibe at times, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing---that show was a lot of fun and coincidentally, my favorite arcs involved the Amazons as well. I’m of the opinion that good stories have a sort of familiarity/similarity about them.

    The spotlight also does seem to be not always on her, but I have no problem with this. On the contrary, it’s the contrasts and her reactions that make her shine/more interesting in the current run.

    On the smith’s story, it’s somewhat shocking, but it kind of humanizes the Amazons. My only regret is that I’ll probably won’t know how the old Artemis would react. :)

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    1. Hi Arnold, I'm with you, Xena was terrific fun, but back then we had Xena AND Wonder Woman; right now we have Wonder Woman in a Xena story, but without the humour.

      Hmm, I do think it's possible to be human without killing our sexual partners, like a black widow spider; to me, the Amazons now feel distinctly INhuman.

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    2. Really distasteful I must admit, but then I thought that there must be a reason for it or it's not the whole truth, so I'll just go along for and enjoy the ride. I think the writing is intended to tease/mislead/provoke at times, one needs to read between the lines. Case in point is about the lasso---one could say that its truthsense is being questioned, but the smith was actually not telling a lie: WW was angry and was indeed intimidating the god.

      Incidentally, to me, what the present team did about the Amazons is really nothing new. Basically, they turned the Themyscirans into the Banas, whom I had more interest/symphathy. The pre-52 Amazons reminded me a bit of Tolkien's elves (also immortal but can be felled) who were also sequestered and shielded by their gods in Silmarillion, and what made Simarillion an interesting read was that the elves were flawed and their history riddled with tragedy, including kinslaying, and the all too human condition.

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    3. I wasn't a fan of the Banas, too mean for me. I did try reading the Silmarillion, as a kid, but I just couldn't get into Tolkien.

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  23. Hi Martin,

    Well, Azarello certainly got the reaction he was looking for, eh? The art and writing are extremely high, which make the problematic story choices harder to dismiss. I hope there is a eventual light at the end of this tunnel...and that it doesn't turn out to be a train.
    Morlock50

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  24. Here's another thing.. You know some people don't like Marston's take on the Greek gods, but you know what? It was one of the only times in all of literature when Hera, Goddess of women, wasn't shown as being petty, nasty and jealous. Same with all of the Goddesses, they were shown as being something MORE and that was actually INTERESTING. Instead of the tried and true stereotypes that we all known and read, Marston tried something DIFFERENT. I hate this idea that we can only rehash the Classic greek myths, nothing new can happen to them and they MUST go into the tried and true Classic mythology run.

    For me, who has read the stories (or versions of them at least), I find rehashing this to be rather boring.

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    1. I found Marston's take fascinating, and don't get those readers who won't even countenance that an update of his wacky magic could work today. If nothing else, it'd be original for 2012!

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    2. I will say this, if someone had to be chosen to present Marston's trippy mythos to modern fans I'd nominate Grant Morrison.

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    3. Indeedy, I can't wait to see this limited WW series he has in the pipline. Just as long as we don't get encounter group Etta again!

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    4. I will give you this Martin, this discussion about the Marston mythos had me think back to my recent reading of WW Chronicles reprints of the first fifty or so issues, and I do remember at the time that while it was very, very bizarre, it certainly did stand the title apart from something like, say, the early Starman, which I read around the same time. The latter seemed generic, and that's not something you could ever say about Marston's WW issues...

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  25. Mart, you might be interested in this, from Ragnell's Written World blog. She poses a fairly convincing argument that there could be more than meets the eye with the Amazon raids (and their treatment of boy-children), and reasons why Hephaestus's account might not be completely accurate.

    If you're looking for a ray of hope, I'd say this is it:

    http://ragnell.blogspot.com/2012/03/wonder-woman-7-spoilers.html

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  26. Thank you Rob, I'll take all the hope I can get!

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    1. Very interesting piece, I love Ragnell's optimism!

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  27. ANOTHER thing (sorry, I've been getting prodded about this on twitter by people and I need to VENT), would people be so HAPPY to here that to "modernize" Superman, DC revealed that Ma and Pa Kent were cannibalistic serial killers? B/c that makes them "edgy and new" for the modern era right? What if it was revealed that Thomas Wayne regularly molested young boys (and Brucie), does that make it suddenly BETTER? Would that be accepted by the people who LOVE this new WW?

    also will SOMEONE explain to me how the hell Steve Trevor brought Diana to Man's world if.. the Amazons club men over the head, "Seduce"/rape them and then kill them? Because it makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE. It's like there are 2 entirely different origins. I don't think Johns and Azzarello discussed this at all. (Notice Johns has been using WW's Lasso more in JL than she's used it in her OWN TITLE? she's chosen the short sword more often than not)

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    1. Yep... Trevor's firsthand experience is more evidence that Hephaestus has at least some of his facts wrong.

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    2. Well, we may get some more clues in just three weeks, chaps. Doesn't time fly!

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    3. WW uses her lasso quite a bit in this issue...BTW-as for modernizing Batman and Superman with edgy backstories including heaps of morally questionable baggage given the hero, it has sort of been done, take for example the Frank Miller Batman stuff, or the thinly veiled Superman stories such as Straczynski's Hyperion stuff and Waid's Irredeemable. These were controversial for the reasons you mention I think, but many people found them interesting...

      The Amazons of myth were often portrayed as quite brutal (check out their wiki page where the tales of what they did with male offspring can be found), the current authors are simply tapping into that. Wonder Woman herself seems to be pretty well centered and still guided by love and other better angels of her nature-witness her compassionate, albeit misguided, attempt to free her "brothers" and her arc long adventure protecting Zola.

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    4. Good points, and of course, the Byrne Krypton wasn't as cosy as I'd like, and the more recent year-long New Krypton storyline had all kinds of dubious folk in it.

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    5. I hate to "good points" you right back, but...good points! The Byrne run on Superman should have popped right to mind, he totally reshaped the Krypton myth from the wacky Silver Age days. It seems to me that more recent portrayals have, if anything, been pretty hard on the Kryptonians, with their ultra-rigid caste system and militaristic ways being focused on...You're right that depictions of Kryptonians in Superman would be the better analog to how the Amazons in WW are depicted, but I could anticipate the following reply from Jan: no matter how the Kryptonians are depicted we can believe Superman being the good person he is as he was never raised by them, but how can we buy a kind, decent Diana knowing she was raised by people who would engage in the mass slaughter of infants? Something to ponder..

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    6. Mr. Whiskas is right by in large, Kryptonians play a very, very small part of WHO Superman is. He didn't even find out he was Kryptonian until later in life in most modern stories and even when he does, he doesn't know much about Kryptonian life until he meets Kryptonians as a full grown adult. Not the same impact as Ma and Pa Kent have on Superman and that's been seen countless times. If you even remember in the recent New Krypton storyline, it was mentioned that Superman was too human and not very Kryptonian in his thought processes. They didn't raise him in a single origin, ever. He has ALWAYS been raised by humans.

      Wonder Woman, on the other hand, has ALWAYS been raised by Amazons, including this current version. And while Amazons in myth, written by the Greeks and Romans that hated them as enemies, have shown them to be violent in some cases (not violent in others), it was written by the Greeks and the Romans that viewed Amazons as enemies to be hated and feared, not revered and looked up to. Not to mention that women in general are typically looked down upon in those same myths. Diana, on the other hand, was raised by a group of nasty, vicious men hating women and from what we've seen, most of them didn't particularly care for Diana (or Clay as they called her even as adults). There is a huge difference in that.. Not to mention that all the Amazons are now barbarians that can't do anything except make war (they can't even make their own weapons!?!?!)

      Also, I don't buy into this concept that we've just been told this story because we're gonna learn the real truth later. That's all someone else trying to rationalize the story away. Azzarello has shown thus far he really doesn't care about telling a story about Diana, so revealing the horrific "origins" of the Amazons as a lie or a half-truth that later gets revealed to be false all so we can tear Wonder Woman down to rebuild her seems like a massive pipe dream to me. Diana is barely present in the stories and when she is, it's for scant moments before a more interesting God or character steals the spotlight to be the real center of the story. Diana is just being dragged along by events. That may work for Dream of the Endless, but not so much for Wonder Woman. I just don't see this all coming up as fake later.

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    7. And yes to everything here, Jan. You're right about the traditional difference in Diana and Clark's backgrounds.

      Reboot or no reboot, I really do not like the notion that the writer of one of comics' most iconic characters can get the job without more than a passing knowledge of her. I'm not saying Brian Azzarrello needs to be a huge fan of Wonder Woman, but familiarity and affection would be a pretty good starting point

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  28. I love this book! I know I'm a rarity among Wonder Woman readers in that I've never really followed Wonder Woman more than just a few issues at a time, but this one I've read since the start. I haven't regretted it even once. For the first time, Wonder Woman is an interesting character; her supporting cast each seems like they could have their very own miniseries, and wow, if I'm not interested in this title for the first time since William Messner-Loebs teamed up with Lee Moder back in the early 90's, then I don't know what else is going to interest me. Love this book so much. So complex, so gray, so...awesome. Sorry to disagree with the horde, but those are my feelings. I'm sorry it's not everyone's cup of tea!

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    1. Hi Jeff, there's nothing wrong with enjoying the book, and your enjoyment of Loebs/Moder shows great taste. I'd love to see a second Wonder Woman comic launched, featuring a more classic take, so pleasing more people, more of the time.

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    2. Jeff, you're the kind of person that this launch was meant to please. A man who has never really read or cared one iota about Wonder Woman and cares a great deal about the story, but.. As Wonder Woman as an interesting character.. given this new take, what do you KNOW about Wonder Woman? I've read Wonder Woman for years and all I've gotten from what I've read is a vague impression that she's Xena, but no real clue about who she is and what motivates her.. why she's come to man's world.. anything.

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    3. So Jan, let's pretend we're setting optional homework (not for Jeff, particularly!), what Wonder Woman stories or runs would you recommend for an interested party?

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  29. The basic problem here is that Azzarello is doing too much damage to the franchise, and creating a major mess when the next writer takes over. Unless it's all handwaved away as a divine hallucination like the last Amazon-destroying story was, he's depowered the character, gutted the supporting cast, and making it next to impossible for related charcters like Donna Troy, Artemis, or Philippus to reappear in the DCU.

    Barbarizing and then losing Themiscyra is itself a major depowering of the character. Think Batman without a Batcave. Before this dreck, Diana not only had a large roster of potential henchpeople; she had an army of metas at her command.

    The current Cassie Sandsmark Wonder Girl stole magic gear from a temple. I gather this relates somehow, but it's hard to see clearly. What I do know is that this development cuts off the possibility, say, of an uplifting tale about Diana's childhood among the barbarian pirates. Young Diana stories such as Ben Caldwell drew in Saturday Comics are off the table until this is repaired.

    (I guess I'm glad Donna Troy is staying out of sight. Must not be enough room in the refrigerator.)

    As I see it, Azzarello is burning too many bridges and not building enough new ones. It's trying too hard to be weird and "edgy"; I still blame the elitist Vertigo mentality. Nobody who thinks that magic lassos, invisible planes, and purple healing rays are dated or silly has any business writing a Wonder Woman book.

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    1. Thanks so much, SteveGus, eloquently argued and the whole crystalised into a final killer line. I want to see all the things that made Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman. The current character is being defined as Not Wonder Woman, making for a much duller character and world.

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    2. that last line is PERFECT. I don't think the Vertigo mentality is alive here.. I just think it's more DC has no clue what to do with Wonder Woman, so they've been trying to cast her more and more in the role of Badass Warrior Woman.. this is just a continuation of that. I mean, it wasn't that long ago she was snapping Maxwell Lord's neck or using a giant battle axe, engulfed by rage.

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  30. You know what else? The same people that will tell you how amazing and fantastic it is that Grant Morrison adds all these great Golden Age and Silver Age elements, and how a genius he is.. will tell you, in the same breath, that the previous Wonder Woman never worked because she was too "cheesy" (they of course never read a single issue of the EITHER previous Wonder Woman incarnations). I love people telling me that the Pre-Crisis Wonder Woman wouldn't work for modern sensibilities at all and they have proof because it didn't sell well previous.. I'm always like, "And when was this TRIED?" The LAST Wonder Woman, they only threw the Diana Prince secret ID at her as an aside, made Diana Prince into a secret agent, while keeping Wonder Woman a warrior and a barbarian. Her only love interest appeared as an out-of-the-blue love interest that made no sense and she practically clubbed him over the head and dragged him back to her cave!

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    1. Nice one, Jan, making me smile while making great points. I wish someone at DC were reading the arguments here, and elsewhere, as to why the new approach to Wonder Woman isn't the only game in town.

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  31. Been fretting about missing classic Diana for too long, so I decided to do something about it. I hope you approve; please support if you deem it worthy! :) https://www.change.org/petitions/warner-brothers-dc-comics-restore-the-classic-wonder-woman-character-and-her-mission-of-peace#

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    1. Two Wonder Woman books, two tones, twice the opportunity to please readers ... signed!

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