Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Enough preamble, though: I took a chance and bought the paperback having heard both good and bad about the series, and here's my take.
Wonder Woman is brought in to protect the mortal woman, Zola, who carries the latest of Zeus's children, from the wrath of Zeus's ever-jealous wife, Hera. Diana's involvement leads to her visiting Themyscira where she learns the truth about her origin: long thought to be made of clay, it turns out she too is one of Zeus's offspring. Needless to say, this leads to some angry words between her and her mother, Hippolyta, before Diana leaves the island. Hera, too, pays a visit, having discovered, at the same time as Diana, of Zeus's dalliance with Hippolyta, and the confrontation doesn't end well for the latter as the jealous goddess turns her to stone. Seeking retribution, Diana ends up playing Poseidon and Hades against each other, offering them both the rule of heaven now that Zeus has vanished. She tricks them, however, as her main goal is to have Hera appear, letting Diana access to Hera's home where she metaphorically blinds the goddess, destroying her ability to view the mortal world. Zola, whom Diana has been accompanying all the while, is tricked and captured by an unhappy Hades who wants Diana to make good on her offer.
While I've read little of Diana's ongoing series over the years, I'm aware enough of her back story and her major supporting case to know that this is something of a divergence. This series places her firmly in a renewed Greek pantheon of gods and monsters, dealing with immortals as well as the people in the real world. And, to my mind, it works splendidly.
The dialogue is littered with puns and throwaway lines without ever making you laugh out loud, giving it a lighter air while still dealing with some big situations. The story itself was enjoyable, though the ending with Hera's home seemed a little rushed and confusing, and I'll definitely be picking up the next collection to find out what happens to Zola and her unborn child.
Diana herself is a world away from the character in Justice League; there she seems to do little apart from want to fight or stab someone while here in her own series she's mostly calm, thoughtful and displays an intelligence and cunning that is hardly recognisable in the other book.
The art is gorgeous with Cliff Chiang managing to make even a blonde Hippolyta look strong and regal. The gods, too, are a wonderful mix of the creepy and slightly funny - Hades, at first glance, looks a little ridiculous but it's an appearance that works the more you think about it, and Poseidon is just superb.
A little gripe for me, being British, was the stilted Londoner's dialogue, but that's really a minor thing when the book's taken as a whole.
I enjoyed it, like I said, and look forward to volume two.