G3 Review: Wonder Woman #9

Gown NOT designed by Vera Wang.

G3 has had some issues with Wonder Woman lately. Not the character, but her title. V. summed it up very well in a heartfelt post about her frustration with the comic book’s direction in recent months.

I was OK with writer Brian Azzarello’s dark vision for the Amazons and his revamp of Wonder Woman’s origin, so this isn’t about being anti-change. However, after seeing Diana do something ridiculously gullible in issue #8 and slogging through a disappointing #9, I wonder what happened to the thrilling reboot that came leaping flawlessly out of the gate.

One problem is that the Greek gods have started to crowd Diana out of her own comic, making Wonder Woman more of an ensemble affair than a solo book with a strong central character. You might as well call it Wondy & the Gods. Every superhero needs a good supporting cast to play off of, but the key word is “supporting.” A little bit of Lennox goes a long way.

Azzarello seems barely interested in Diana who, having been shot with a love-drug bullet from Eros’ gun, is being prepped for her wedding to Hades. She’s basically inert here, making bland, tearful conversation with Persephone and playing the role of a dutiful bride-to-be. She’s just plain boring. Most of the airtime goes to assorted deities and Zola, the pregnant woman Diana traveled to hell to save. That’s fine if you didn’t sign up to read a comic book about Wonder Woman.

Cliff Chiang’s only visible contribution is the stunning cover, luminously colored by Matthew Wilson. Most of fill-in artist Tony Akins’ work is perfectly fine, especially the scenes showing the lean, mean Strife, and Hades’ grotesque throne. However, something goes awry in the rendering of Zola. Her face changes from panel to panel, resembling that of a bratty child in some places and a frumpy, middle-aged woman in others.

What troubles me more than disliking an issue of Wonder Woman is not caring — and I’m beginning to worry it may come to that. Like Action Comics, this title got off to a rousing start, then began morphing into something very different from the comic book I fell in love with. Nine issues in, I still don’t have a clear idea of who the character is beyond an awe-inspiring warrior given to bouts of naiveté. There’s a lot happening around her and to her, but it’s deeply frustrating that Diana herself remains at arm’s length. Grade: D+

9 thoughts on “G3 Review: Wonder Woman #9

  1. I stopped buying it a while ago. Its just not very good. I didn’t enjoy anything after the first issue. To me, its symptomatic of a bigger failing. I think that the new 52 is a failure overall. Its slowly sucking away at my will to enjoy DC comics, which is an accomplishment in the face of the never ending crappy incoherent Marvel Summer events.

    1) It was an overall cowardly decision to only “partially” reboot the DC universe. Rolling back some of the stories doesn’t make it any more accessible to new readers than simply starting at the beginning. But for existing readers, its confusing trying to figure out what has happened and what has not. (Example, Teen Titans are just now forming, but in Red Hood and the Outlaws Speedy / RedArrow asks Starfire is she remembers any of the 80s TT gang by name.) Either start fresh or make the best of what has already happened.

    2) Editorial obviously played favorites with which story lines were maintained and which were not. Batman (Grant Morrisson), Flash (Jeff Johns) and Green Lantern (Jeff Johns) only had minor changes. JLA, Teen Titans, Wonder Woman, Superman all had drastic changes to their coontinuity. Donna Troy and Wally West are redundant, but its not redundant at all that Batman in five yearsof official continuity (now) has had 4 Robins (Dick, Jason, Tim, Damien.) While I love GM and consider most everything he writes to be genius, fair is fair.

    3) The overall tone on many titles / characters has dramatically changed….Wonder Woman’s naivete, Green Arrow is a corporate hipster, John Constantine seems to get played non-stop by Xanadu and Zatanna (who also comes off somewhat weak lipped), Starfire is a mindless sex robot fantasy, Batman likes to indulge in a bit of rooftop bootbumping,

    And this is all from the stuff that I have read which was hardly the Lions Share of DC Comics.

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    • Well said Peter Lang about the jank that is the new 52, and good review E.
      I unlike you never liked this revamp of WW from the start and now it is just getting worse for me to the point that I am feeling numb and blase about my all time favourite super. : (
      I did pick up this book as I love Wonder Woman and I am loyal to her, not the insane clown posse who are now writing her book.
      But on a happier note I did pick up so rather fabu Wonder Woman PJs! So that has cheered me up a bit. : )

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  2. OK, it’s not sounding good for this ‘New 52’ malarkey… I figure I’ll skip WW altogether, and I’m not liking much of what I hear about other titles. The trades will be available soon, I’ll sample a few, but…

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    • “Editorial obviously played favorites with which story lines were maintained and which were not.” Indeed. I think the relaunch yielded some good comics, but I’m officially worried about Wonder Woman’s future.

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      • I agree with that point as well about DC’s editorial playing favourites, and I am very worried about what they are doing to WW, but I am also very sad about the lack of effort that they gave to Mr. Terrific. He is a pretty nifty hero and DC does not have that many heros of colour and he finally got his own book, but they did not really give it the best send off and support I think.

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  3. I don’t like this reboot at all. It makes me unconfortable and sad. Diana is stupid and passive and that is extremely unsettling. I agree with everything you said and they should maybe name the book Justice League: Olympus. It’s not like they don’t have multiple Justice League titles already… What’s one more?

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  4. Number 9 was a weird filler issue that seems to be all about setting up the next one. Which makes perfect sense when you’re telling a whole story – but not much sense when you’ve buying one part of a serialisation at a time. So what we get is a issue that’s all build. Hopefully it’ll pay-off over the next three, but right now it’s frustrating.

    It’s why you get this weird “not-a-character” vibe from Diana, as they’re not trying to play their hand on what the love bullet (sigh) did – so they can’t play her current motivations or feelings out in the open.

    That is probably why this issue felt like the first to me that it really was an ensemble cast – with all the other multitudes reactions to events being given the focus instead of Diana’s. It’s partly because, as I said, they can’t show her actual thought process. And it’s partly to help with the build – by showing, repeatly, different people who are very invested in the ongoing process, it builds tension.

    Sadly, as this type of reveal can’t really happen at the end of an issue without killing all tension (or dropping an even bigger bomb) they have to hold it off till next month. In the mean time, instead of feeling a months tension, we get a few moments frustration and then focus on the next piece.

    Frankly, I think it’s still very good, if not immediately satisfying – but Azzarello is trying a piece of storytelling that only really works in things with shorter timeframes (weekly TV, for instance) or once the whole thing is collected. And, of course, if the pay off isn’t good – then this just becomes a wasted comic.

    PS. Yes, Atkins can’t draw a woman’s face to save his life. It’s like he draws the shape then just plonks the features on randomly. I imagine that’s part of why they did the reverse shots of Aphrodite.

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