When we started doing Friday Favorites here at G3, the concept was more about featuring B-list characters that we loved. We wanted to shine a light where it isn’t always shining. But this Friday, I want to honor the leading lady of comics because she deserves it. More specifically, I’d like to honor Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman. She is the Wonder Woman I have been waiting for.
Wonder Woman is the reason I am a geek at all. It was Lynda Carter’s TV version that inspired my interest in super-heroines when I was wee nugget of four. If it wasn’t for my Wondy nostalgia, I don’t know that I would even be reading comics, let alone writing about them.
Upon diving headfirst down the comic book rabbit hole, I devoured many a trade of stories past. Thus, when I was all out of trades to borrow, the time had come for me to make my own pull list. Having been utterly spoiled by the fierceness that is Greg Rucka’s Diana, Wonder Woman was the very first thing I added.
Since his run, I’ve not felt particularly excited by the title even though it is the one book I will always pull. At the time, I was thrilled that Gail Simone would be writing Wonder Woman. I hoped for amazing. While the writing was solid and Gail certainly dignified the character … something was still missing. Then there was the JMS Odyssey debacle, which Phil Hester somehow salvaged in a moderately respectable fashion. But it ultimately fell short of anything reputable.
To be fair, Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most difficult characters to write. She has the weight of being a cultural icon on her broad shoulders and a convoluted continuity. With so many facets of the character to choose from, it could be challenging for even the best of writers to find a groove with her. And we all know that editors play their parts, particularly with big ticket characters (unless your name is Grant Morrison, but I digress). Whatever the reason for the lackluster stories, this fangirl feels like she’s been eating tofu when I want a New York strip. I have been longing for a Wonder Woman to be excited about.
People, I think she has arrived.
The first two issues of Azzarello and Chiang’s Wonder Woman have been immensely satisfying. Azzarello is telling a relatable, well-paced, juicy Greek mythology-meets-Jerry Springer story. He makes waves with the subtle dialogue, and damn it, it is interesting. I realize that there is controversy regarding Diana being yet another offspring of Zeus. Somehow it steals her purely matriarchal origin while insipidly planting the patriarchal seed. This is perceived by some as inherently misogynistic. Perhaps it is. But I will take that stance if, and only if, Diana is depowered by the change in origin. Let’s be real here — is being a golem more positive or feminine-affirming? All will be revealed as the issues unfold. I am tabling this controversy for now.
The very best thing about this book is the beautiful, BEAUTIFUL art. Cliff Chiang is perfect for this book, and Matthew Wilson’s colors set Chiang’s pencils and inks off into the stratosphere. There are many talented artists out there who have delivered great Wonder Woman art, but Chiang renders Diana so well that I don’t want to imagine her any other way.
I feel like DC finally got the damn memo and put a creative powerhouse team on this title. Of all the books DC has relaunched, this is one of the few that has potential for being the gold standard. Azzarello and Chiang’s Wonder Woman is a stunning book that thus far portrays a powerful Diana. We are only two issues in, but the writing and art rings more authentic than this Wondy fan dared to hope for. I am thrilled by Wonder Woman’s glorious “new” beginning.