I’ll be honest: I’ve never had any interest whatsoever in reading Wonder Woman comics. Back when I watched Justice League: Unlimited I did like her character, but I never had the drive to learn more about her. Since the start of DC’s New 52 there’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the Wonder Woman series, and ultimately I decided to wait until the first six issues collected in hardcover before purchasing and reading it. Does this series deserve the hype it received?
Wonder Woman Volume 1: Blood focuses on a story about the offspring of Zeus. As our story begins, Zeus is missing and his son, Apollo, muses about taking his father’s kingdom. Meanwhile, Hera is on the warpath, having discovered a mortal woman carrying Zeus’s latest illegitimate child. Hermes rushes to save the woman, a young redneck girl named Zola, from Hera’s centaurs and ultimately links her up with Wonder Woman who swears to protect the woman and her unborn child. As Wonder Woman defends Zola she begins to uncover dark secrets about her own birth and learns that Zola may not be the only one with a connection to Zeus.
This new take on Wonder Woman is the work of Brian Azzarello. In my experience, Azzarello’s writing is a mixed bag: his work on the independent Luthor and Joker series were amazing character analyses and strong stories, but the first two issues of Before Watchmen: Comedian made me cringe and wish I’d spent my money on literally any other comic in the shop. Thus, going in, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from the writing. Luckily, any fears I retained vanished halfway through the first issue in the collection. Azzarello let the creative juices flow and gave us a myriad of intriguing characters, from mortals like Zola to gods like Apollo and Hera. The dialogue is very clever, and there’s nice use of wordplay (usually courtesy of Apollo). The portrayal of Wonder Woman herself is also great: she shows true strength, both physical and mental, as she faces the numerous challenges before her.
Cliff Chiang pencilled the first four issues in Blood, while Tony Akins handles the final two. Though their styles don’t allow for a seamless transition, the difference wasn’t jarring enough to bother me. I will say, however, that I feel Chiang is the stronger artist of the two. Here, I feel I’ve seen the best depiction of Wonder Woman in any medium: she is portrayed as both strong and beautiful, and avoids the stereotypical sexualization that is sadly seen all too often for female characters. The character designs for the Greek Gods are especially cool, giving them each a distinctive appearance that borrows from mythology but also possesses its own spin from the artist. Poseidon’s design deserves special note for surprising me beyond measure. Finally, the covers for this series are amazing, and really portray Wonder Woman’s strength; it’s hard not to feel at least a little awe-struck when looking at them.
Wonder Woman Volume 1: Blood is a great read with great art to stand beside it. We’re finally given a Wonder Woman story that anyone can (and will) enjoy. We’re treated to a Wonder Woman who can stand on her own as an inspiring and powerful figure, occupying her own special niche in the DC Universe. Though there’s nothing ground-breaking in this collection I still couldn’t find fault with anything, so I feel it’s worth the buy. The hardcover collection features some cool character and cover design pages at the back as well, making the hardback even more worth it.
Brett Simon is a twenty-two year old comic enthusiast. He’s really hoping Dionysus shows up soon in the series as some sort of frat boy.