Evil Geek Book Report – Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Blood
I’ll admit that growing up I never knew much about Wonder Woman other than a few things I gleaned here and there from pop culture. For being one of the most recognizable female super heroes in the entire world I was a relative novice. As a character she always seemed to have limitless potential if used properly but since I don’t read much DC I never felt the urge to look into that. That was all about to change.
To me Wonder Woman was defined by her golden age campiness. What can you do with a character that’s super strong and has a lasso of truth and an invisible jet? Thanks but I’ll pass. Well the answer is go back to her Amazon roots, trade her lasso for a sword, emphasis the mythology, turn it into a Greek tragedy! Perhaps I’ve been unconsciously persuaded by those Rob Liefeld Glory comics I read (hey, I was a child of the 90s comic boom after all) but it just makes more sense to put Wonder Woman in a more ancient context and fighting Gods not a modern day city.
After a little research I found out this is pretty much what Brian Azzarello did. The press all seemed to be pretty positive so I was thrilled to track some of it down and start reading it. The first volume contains issues 1-6 and wasn’t exactly what I had expected but it still delivered. I was under the assumption that this all takes place either in the past or confined to an area that personified those attributes. This story takes place now, Diana even lives in London but Gods exist as well as Mount Olympus and Paradise Island (home of the Amazons). They are all portrayed in exactly the way you would want them to be.
What about the story? Well, as it starts we find out that someone is trying to kill a human named Zola only to be saved by the Greek God Hermes. As it turns out Zeus has impregnated her, appearing in a different form (typical Zeus) and his wife Hera is out for blood. She wants to eradicate the bloodline of the God’s that don’t come from her not to mention snuff out the embarrassment of an unfaithful husband. Hermes decides his best plan of action is to put her in Wonder Woman’s protection.
The trio travel to Paradise Island for sanctuary and despite Wonder Woman being their princess she is shunned for bringing a man into their midst. That doesn’t help when Hara dispatches one of her true daughters Strife down there to cause a little mischief. Think of her as the Loki of this pantheon. This leads to a shocking reveal of Wonder Woman’s origin (which I will not spoil) as well as a confrontation between Hara and Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons.
If that wasn’t enough, Zeus has presumably gone missing. It’s been foretold that one of his children is behind it so that they can claim his throne for themselves. After returning back to London Wonder Woman tries to make an alliance with Poseidon and Hades to trap Hara but ends up getting sucked into Hades’ Underworld because of Zola.
It’s fair to say I was relatively captivated by these issues. I definitely want to read more. It felt right to me; it was more in line with my vision of Wonder Woman and best of all it was self-contained. There were no Superman or Green Lantern cameos, misc. villains I never heard of etc. Everything was pulled from mythology. It set up a decent mystery with some plot twists that I’m curious to see play out. Cliff Chiang’s art wasn’t my favorite at first, but the more you read it kind of grows on you, I will however praise his redesigns of the Greek Gods. Each looks unique and interesting.
Now, I realize everyone will not and does not agree with my assessment of this series. In fact, when I went on goodreads.com and was perusing some of the reviews for this trade I was shocked on how many people complained that they changed her origin story and how that was blasphemous, they’d never read again or how they weren’t portraying the Gods in the Greek mythology with the proper personalities they historically possessed. My answer to that is chill the fuck out, it’s a comic book. The entire DC line got a complete overhaul and reboot with the New 52, some things changed about characters and some stayed the same. If it’s in the context of a good story does a tweak of the origin truly matter? I mean the character is still more or less the same; their motivations may be slightly different. The Mythology argument is even worse; no one should be reading super hero comics for historical accuracy. Do you really want to miss out on some great reading because of some weird personal hang ups?
Give the series a shot; it seems Wonder Woman has finally got the overhaul and the book she deserves.
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