Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Wonder Woman Vol 1: Blood

As I mentioned last week, I recently picked up a couple of trades, one of which was the collection of the first six issues of the New 52 Wonder Woman series. I have to admit to being tempted to buy the series when it was originally announced if only to see what the new team did with the venerable character, but money's not on elastic as someone I know says.

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.


  1. I've read the first two volumes (Blood & Guts) and while I can acknowledge that they're well written comics, I don't think they're all that great as Wonder Woman comics. You could slot just about any generic hero into Wonder Woman's place in these stories and not have to make many changes - the focus is more about this War between the Gods than it is about Wonder Woman.

    Also the change to her origin sets my teeth on edge because it is a continuation of the trend to take something unique about Wonder Woman and remove it because the writer thinks its goofy only to replace it with something that has already been done and doesn't bring much to the character (Straczynski did this with "Odyssey" by essentially making her origin Superman's origin). Now she's basically Hercules, but a woman. Even to the point where Hera is actively out to get her just because Zeus is a philandering bastard. (If she were more like Marvel's Hercules I might get behind this, but so far she has just been portrayed as angry all the time, which is a continuation of the post Wein/Perez take on the character, and a continuation of post-Moore superheroes in general, but it gets so tiresome.)

    Also if Wonder Woman is even more of a violent angry warrior-type in Justice League than she is in her own book, I'm glad my knee-jerk reaction to the book has caused me to wait for the library to get it - I'll probably just be irritated by it...

    1. "the focus is more about this War between the Gods than it is about Wonder Woman."

      Wouldn't disagree with that, Jer, but perhaps that's why I enjoyed it. As I said, I've never been a Wonder Woman reader so didn't have much in the way of expectation in terms of Diana's character. Being a sucker for some Greek mythology, though, meant I was happy with what I was reading.

  2. Hi Gary, I'm glad you enjoyed the book. I'm with Jer, though - while I can take a new take, having enough of what makes Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman is something I need. This is an afternoon soap with gods, not a Diana starrer. And those awful puns just throw me out of the story. Well, they did before I dropped the book.

    1. "This is an afternoon soap with gods, not a Diana starrer."

      As I said to Jer, that's probably why I liked it. However, I can see the point both of you make that if the story is "Deities of Our Lives" maybe the book shouldn't be called Wonder Woman?

      I'll let you know what I think of book 2 once the paperback's available second hand!

  3. Wonder Woman and Earth 2 are the only comics in the New 52 that are different from there previous incarnations. All of the rest could easily have taken place in pre-Flashpoint.

    1. Might add Worlds' Finest to that list as well; a quick look through my current list of DC comics and I have to admit, you've got a good point there.

      The one thing the New 52 did offer DC, though, was the opportunity to launch books like Demon Knights, Frankenstein, OMAC, Men at War and others. True, there was nothing really stopping them being set pre-Flashpoint, but DC did use the (mostly) blank slate to try some titles that weren't standard superhero fare.

      So from that point of view, I think it's done some good.


Thanks for wanting to leave a comment, but this blog is no longer maintained. Feel free to visit my new site/blog over at


Look forward to seeing you there. :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails