Saturday, March 30, 2013

Graphic novel review

Wonder Woman: Blood offers the third (or fourth) reinterpretation of the greek gods within the world of dc comics and while definitely the most modern, it's also possibly the most entertaining take on the gods of olympus. unfortunately these characters overshadow the book's star, who's voice is scarcely heard.

of all the revisions of dc comics' iconic heroes with its "new 52" launch, i was most interested in wonder woman.  the book opens with apollo, god of the sun, coercing his oracles into searching out the whereabouts of his missing father, zeus, king of the gods. the story quickly picks up when hermes, god of messengers, appears in rural virginia, to defend a young woman from centaur assassins. the young woman is teleported to london for safe keeping and apparently the home of wonder woman! the famous amazon princess and young woman, named zola, return to virginia and the super heroine makes quick work of zola's enemies. hermes reveals that hera, zeus' husband, sent the centaurs to kill zola because she's pregnant with the son of zeus! meanwhile, apollo watches all that transpires from afar, plotting his own campaign to slaughter the apparent new heir of zeus.

wonder woman soon finds she and zola share something in common, both women are connected to zeus, and their fate becomes tied together with factions of godly foes plotting their demise because of their involvement in olympian affairs. wonder woman's world is turned upside down when she realizes her mother, queen of the amazons, had planted a lie long ago to protect the princess from the envious hera. the queen of olympus enacts vengeance on the amazons when wonder woman teleports to london with zola and hermes. princess diana returns to the island home of her past too late and discovers her mother and sisters transformed in a poignant and dramatic scene that serves as a one of the book's most climatic moments. 

the brilliance of brian azzarello's writing, is that he finds a great balance of drama and action between so many intriguing characters. the soap opera of the olympian gods is brought to the modern world in such an excellent fashion that fans of comic books, reality tv, or even romance novels can all appreciate. though the 'witty' dialogue became slightly tiresome as if it were trying too hard to be smart.

a particular favorite character is strife, daughter of hera and sister of apollo. she's the villain you love to hate, taking neither side of a conflict, rather instigating all parties to suit her twisted desires. strife proves to be the perfect foil for princess diana who continually attempts to be the peace maker and leveled headed heroine one would expect. i can relate to this version of wonder woman, who righteously believes she knows what she's doing, but may not quite have a handle on events out of her control. we could all learn a thing or two from wonder woman.

the art fits the story with it's crisp and contemporary look by the book's main artist, cliff chiang. unfortunately, chiang does not pencil/ink the entire novel, and though tony akins admirably steps in to complete the last two chapters, his version of wonder woman is hideous. their designs of strife, hades, poseidon, and hermes could very well become iconic in the mythology of world of wonder woman and are probably the most outstanding aspect of, Wonder Woman: Blood.

the characters of the novel run the narrative, but not wonder woman herself. very rarely do we get a glimpse into the amazon princess' thoughts, though this changes slowly as the book progresses. what's obvious is that wonder woman is very much an outsider in the world beyond the shores of paradise island, but even among the amazons. wonder woman stands up for the little guy or girl and believes they deserve a chance to rise, that much is clear. i wish more time had been spent on getting to know wonder woman instead of introducing character after character (despite how much i like them). in the end, Blood is still fun modern take on the iconic super heroine.

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