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+