For example, this issue opens with weirdo goddess Strife visiting her Uncle Ares at a Damascus cafe to ask if he'll be her date at the wedding of Hades and Wonder Woman. It'll be a blast, she laughs, as a suicide bomber blows everyone to smithereens.
That's two pages wasted, unless you enjoy viscera flying at you. Look, we get it, the gods must be crazy. We're nine issues into this run of Wonder Woman and know Hermes isn't the only mercurial Olympian, they're all a sandwich short of a picnic. Even more gods show up this time, as the royal family members discuss whether or not to attend the nuptials. Aphrodite, goddess of beauty and apparently too zoftig to be properly shown on panel, isn't going because there's no room in hell for Love. Hubby Hephaestus is accepting his invite, and taking demi-god Lennox as his Plus One. Eros is going too, while Hermes stays on Earth to protect the human Zola, who's carrying Zeus's child. Persephone, self-harming first wife of Hades, has no choice but to be there.
Hades himself is chatting to his father, Chronos, whom he's using as a throne. The guy's starving, but Hades offers nothing from the feast before them. He does give niece Strife a drink - the bloody tears of Chronos - when she shows up to make a suggestion to which we're not privy.
And Diana? Who? Oh yes, Wonder Woman, the bride herself, having accepted Hades' proposal as a means to free Zola from his clutches. She's in here too. Barely. Seven pages out of 20 feature the book's title character and while there's a hint of defiance on her face, she does bugger all, content to let gorgons dress her in freaky finery. The book ends with Hades playing a new mindgame with her, presumably suggested by Strife. He demands Diana prove her love to him, though why he entertains the notion she might actually want him, rather than be plotting an escape route, I have no idea.
I have even less idea why I'm buying this book, given that more often than not it disappoints, frustrates and annoys me. I've never not read Wonder Woman, I'm a sorry get ... but more than that, I'm an optimist, always expecting the next issue to be more true to classic Wonder Woman. But in purchasing, I'm telling DC to extend this approach to their most marketable female. To continue to let Brian Azzarello churn out an Olympian soap opera in which, more often than not, Diana is a bit player. Some might say she's central to the book, as the prize desired by some gods, and the annoyance of others, but really, she's just a McGuffin - the excuse for the Olympians to parade their peculiarities.
The best moment this issue comes as Zola yells at her protector gods to get off their mythological bottoms and do something to help Diana. The worst is, well, this (click on image to enlarge):
The art by penciller Tony Akins, inker Dan Green and colourist Matthew Wilson isn't bad. Their gods are impressive, standouts being Stryfe and Chronos, while their Diana, well, it's not like they're called on to draw her much. She's fine - out of costume, so don't expect the enticing scene on Cliff Chiang's cover to show up - but recognisable. Mind, poor Zola looks a fright, like a lunatic ten-year-old boy ... which is especially unfortunate in the scene which has Aphrodite calling her beautiful. She must mean internally.
If you're good enough to leave a comment on this review, feel free to add: 'Drop the book, loser'. And maybe suggest something I should be reading. Because until Wonder Woman gets her comic back, I should get my coat and go