Wonder Woman 12

Today, Patrick and Peter are discussing Wonder Woman 12, originally released August 15th, 2012.

Patrick: One of the biggest strengths of Brain Azzarello’s Wonder Woman is the richness of its details. The gods are reinvented for comics and the resultant designs are full of specifics that delight by their own virtue. It’s not uncommon in this series to meet a new character or a new creature just because it’s going to be really really really cool. I took Demeter’s introduction last month to be one of those knock-me-down detail-fests that I love so much, but that was shortsighted of me. In any other narrative, introducing a character at this stage in the game would automatically foreshadow that character’s involvement in the conclusion of the story. It turns out that was the case here, but I was too suckered by the writing to see the authorial gears grinding away behind it. That’s awesome.

The majority of this issue plays out atop Mt. Olympus, where Wonder Woman and Hermes have taken their battle against Apollo and Artemis to the throne of the gods itself. The fight seems to be going okay for our heroes, but then Hera does something insane like throwing Zola off the mountain side. Diana abandons Artemis and blindly charges after her friend. Awesomely (and in a power-defining moment), Hermes whizzes a feather into Diana’s leg, granting her the ability to fly. Wonder Woman saves her friend and is generally amazing. Seriously, I’ve never been so happy to see a superhero fly before.

But this distraction gives Apollo just enough time to reshape Olympus to his desires (which means making it look like city skyscrapers – ANOTHER JAW-DROPPING DETAIL) and banish Hera from the realm of the gods. Now that shit’s totally gotten real, Hermes spirits the in-labor Zola away to safety while Wonder Woman goes in for one last full-frontal assault. Wonder Woman overpowers her opponents and gets Apollo to promise to stay away from Zola and her baby. Happy ending, right?

Wrong. We’ve got some codas to attend to. First, Hera is stranded on Earth. Also, she’s totally mortal now. Second, Hermes steals Zola’s baby (!) and delivers it to be raised by Demeter. Demeter and Hermes talk about the difficult life the child will face: “Betrayal, death… perhaps the fall of Olympus. Or depending on how you look at it, a beginning. New Gods.” Under this narration, a hand rises out of the snow, grabs a helmet and disappears is a violent BOOM.

Let’s unpack that page first:

That helmet belongs to Orion, one of the New Gods. And that flash of light and a Boom? That’s a boom-tube, last seen employed (in the New 52) by Darkseid. We’re not given any context for these images, so it’s unclear if this is happening now or at some time in the past or future. My inclination is to think that the baby grows up to be Orion… but I also don’t have enough information about the New Gods to know if that’s even possible. This is another example of my inexperience with the DC Universe leaves me at a disadvantage. I know something huge is happening here, but I don’t totally understand it. Here’s what I do understand: Wonder Woman may have been dancing around the edges of the DC Universe, but now that mythology comes crashing into this world. Good lord in heaven – this means they know how to fold Wonder Woman back into the DCU proper.

And actually, that’s not the only hint of non-Greek-god forces at play in this issue. Apollo opens the issue by teasing something that sounds a little more comic booky than mythology-y: “My oracles have told me of a storm brewing off the shores of reality… one that threatens to destroy this family.” This could be anything, I realize. But with the DC Universe’s reality in a bit of an uncomfortable flux from the recent merging of realities, I get the sense that the oracles could be talking about Pandora, or the Phantom Stranger, or Earth-2, or the Black Room, or Rot World, or the Trinity War, or the Third Army. OR WHATEVER. The point is that it sounds like the Wonder Woman narrative is ready to engage the rest of the party.

The character of Wonder Woman is also getting some last-minute tune-ups. First she snagged the ability to fly – no way to tell if that one’s going to stick around or not. But there’s also this interesting moment where Diana discards her gauntlets. Artemis asks why should would abandon her own defenses, but Wonder Woman responds:

She calls them cuffs. And freed from their bondage, she turns into a glowy blue-eyed ass-kicking machine. She only snaps out of her rage after she’s bested her opponent and snapped the cuffs back on. I could speculate on what that’s about, but that does sound like a job for the comment section.

Everything works so well in this issue, but I think like the Demeter tease last month, I’m so blissfully unaware of how Azzarello is achieving such excellence. As the first full year of the New 52 is wrapping up, I’ve complained an awful lot about boss-fight-syndrome, where a comic book spends WAY too much time on a single battle. We praised the boss fight in Batman 11, but Drew and I were very capable of discussing what made it an exceptionally exciting and moving boss fight. But this issue? No idea. It’s just a fabulous showcase of the incredible warrior, woman and friend Wonder Woman has become.

Peter, how’d you feel about the Hermes betrayal? That’s a pretty long con to play on the reader, and it really upset me. That means it worked. Did it work on you?

Peter: Here’s how I feel about Hermes; disbelief. I read all of the Wonder Woman issues up to this point in one sitting today, so I am pretty enthralled right now. Azzarello wrote the Hermes character so well up to this point. He was this seemingly loving and care character who, I thought, actually had eyes for Zola at points. Also, during the previous issues, Azzarello takes time and whole panels devoted to pointing out to us, the readers, that Hermes is the Messenger. This issue is the first time that he is even mentioned as the God of Thieves. I had pretty much completely forgotten that from school until it was in front of my face.

It was a huge reveal. Also, if Apollo, Hera, etc. were working their plan here, and Hermes, and Demeter were running their con, who is to say that someone else isn’t also running a con on the side? Hermes opened up a huge can of worms for and number of betrayals and ninjas in this storyline.

Lets talk about New Gods. First of all, Patrick, I don’t think that Zola’s baby is Orion. Unless DC wants to change some pretty sensitive material, that can’t happen. Orion is actually Darkseid’s son. Darkseid and his planet Apokolips are in a constant war with Izaya the Highfather and the New Gods of New Genesis. As a show of peace, Darkseid and Highfather traded baby sons. I know, fucking weird. Orion was the baby that went to Highfather, to be raised as a New God, while Highfather’s son, Scott Free, aka Mr. Miracle went to live with Darkseid/Granny Goodness. The New Gods are steeped in mythology, and I can’t see Azzarello messing with that.

I also can’t really come up with much of a connection between the Olympians and the New Gods. The only thing I can think of, is that waaay back in the day, Darkseid was plotting to overthrow the Olympians and steal their power. Maybe he’s manipulated Apollo, or Hermes or somebody in order to make it easy? But I just can’t get behind that theory, and here’s why. Wonder Woman has done an incredible job of being a truly independent book. There are none, if any mentions of the greater DC Universe (up until Orion), and it still works. At this point I really can’t imagine what is going to happen if and when Azzarello stops writing this book; it exists so well on it’s own that I don’t think that it needs the rest of the DC Universe to exist. I had a fantastic time reading all of these books today, and I can’t wait to see what happens with Zola’s baby, and the fate of Olympus.

For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page.  Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore.  If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and download issues there.  There’s no need to pirate, right?

33 comments on “Wonder Woman 12

    • A long shot, but my money is on that somehow Zola’s baby IS Zeus. Don’t ask me how but I know Zeus can be a pretty freaky guy, and somehow I am envisioning a walking talking baby king of the gods that is going to rise up and slap Apollo for remodeling without asking daddy.

  1. Can anyone confirm if this is the first appearance of Orion since his death in Final Crisis? Did Final Crisis even happen in the DCnU? The fact that Dick has been acknowledged as having been Batman indicates yes, but the fact that Barry has been acknowledged as the only Flash suggests otherwise. I’m reading that ending as the return of a character long thought dead, but I suppose that’s not nearly as important as the idea of the New Gods coming into play here. I don’t know what to make of it (I never really know what to make of the New Gods), which makes it one hell of a tease.

    • I know almost nothing about Orion and the New Gods. I do know that Orion was in Blackest Night, so he’s been around. He was one of the ones the White Entity chose to bring back, yes? No?

        • OH YEAH. He’s such an interesting character.

          That sounds bitchy sarcastic, I meant it sincerely.

        • Maybe he too can be a New Gods character I don’t understand with access to Apokalipsian technology. It’s a simple as a slight name-change; Captain Boom-erang.

        • I think this is mostly sarcastic, so you might not be interested in a serious response but Captain Boomerang was in a couple issues of Suicide Squad I read (I think issues 3-4?). He was named ‘team leader’ but then sold out to their enemies by Deadshot. Nothing too substantial.

        • Perhaps this will surprise you, but I actually really like Digger Harkness. I hadn’t suspected that they’re bring him back outside of a Flash title. I saw him pop up in Lego Batman II (yes, it’s simple Lego fun, but fun nonetheless) and it made me wonder: does he have some kind of Gothamy history? I know him primarily as a Rogue, as revived by the White Lantern and as… whatever he did in Identity Crisis (murdered Tim’s dad?). MY POINT IS: I do like the character.

  2. I still can’t get over how awesome it was when Diana removed the cuffs and went all glow in the dark. I couldn’t help but think of Goku’s weighted training clothes for any Dragon Ball Z fans out there. It makes perfect sense that she could do this too because I mean she does get half of her power from Zeus. That moment may have been top three of the whole new52 so far.

    • If we couple uncuffed-Diana with power-of-flight-Diana, that this fight becomes the most satisfying I’ve read since September. There is something sorta Dragon Ball Z-y about it, but I mean that only in the best possible way. While reading this excellent series, you tend not to realize that Wonder Woman is pulling her punches. It’s fucking awesome to see her off the leash.

      • I was thinking the cuffs holding her back were some sort of updated and less sexist version of Aphrodite’s Law, which always held that if a man bound her bracelets, she was rendered powerless.

        • Sort of. It is an update of one of the many facets of Aphrrodite’s law. Back in the day when an Amazons bracers were broken or removed her strength would increase and she would go into a berzerker style rage. Seems now it only applies to Diana and is a means to keep her “god powers” in check. I’m realy looking forward to the 0 issue to see if this is explored more.

          And the whole losing her powers when bound by a man was supposed to be a metaphor for how a womn loses all of her power (as in conrol over her life) when she gets married. It was to highlight how sexist and unfair the treatment of women was.

        • AWESOME. That’s a great way to update abilities with her new demi-god status.

          I have such mixed feelings about Wonder Woman’s first appearance in the DC Universe. On the one hand, she was meant to be a contemporary feminine ideal for girls to look up: strong, loving, smart, just, kind. Nonetheless, she was created by a man, and made as his idea of a feminine ideal for girls to look up to. BUT I LOVE HER NOW, BECAUSE SHE IS OBVIOUSLY AWESOME.

          Glad you found us, Lori!

  3. Also I was wondering if there was any symbology to Zola’s tshirt with the buck/stag on it. After the details put in with the peaches and Demeter, I can’t help but think that everything in this book is purposeful. Is it an animal of a god or symbol of something else or is she just channeling her inner redneck?

    • The Stag is the symbol for Artemis. She was goddess of the hunt and the moon, BUT ALSO young girls and childbirth.

  4. With the Olympian gods being insane magical beings I am not surprised Zeus isn’t around. Magic has been all wonky since the DCnU, as seen in things like SHAZAM, and the FCBD issue. Zeus is the ‘Z’ in SHAZAM, so maybe the return of Captain Marvel will also coincide with Zeus’ return.

    • Oh, that might be a fucking awesome connection you just made, Peter. Maybe Zeus is missing because he’s sucked up in this whole Shazam nonsense. In fact, tying the return of Magic in with the family drama on Olympus makes me like it all the more.

    • I love that idea so much but the potential for other books getting involved makes me nervous that this perfect isolated Wonder Woman bubble would get ruined.

      Also, what if Zeus knew the New Gods were coming to screw everything up so he purposely went into hiding. That way they could all duke it out themselves and when the fighting is done, he can just swoop in and take back the throne. If the Hermes thing was so shocking, I’ve got to believe that there’s an even longer game in play with the Big Z

    • This is why knowing if the events of Final Crisis happened is so important. I think this is happening concurrent to the story, but I’m not sure where it’s happening (and thus, I don’t know where he’s booming to). My guess is that this is him rising from the dead. I’m not sure if that means his physical body is rising (hell, I don’t know where it ended up), or if he’s being re-birthed from that mountain, but I think he’s booming back home to Apokalips. There’s no clues as far as I can tell that actually support these guesses — or any others, really — so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

      • I think the official stance from DC is that many of the major events happened, just not necessarily in the same way you saw them in the old continuity. The most we can get from that page is that the New Gods are back in play and that Orion is alive (whether he was dead before this moment or not is unclear). Also, Peter’s quick to correct me that that’s probably not Zola’s baby, because Orion is (historically) Darkseid’s son. But historically, Wonder Woman has no father. Historically, Amazons only give birth to other women. Azz’ Wonder Woman is one of the more aggressive re-inventors of mythology, so the fact that he New Gods are teased here first suggests that we may have to throw our assumptions about them out the window.

        • The fact that he booms out of there suggests that he’s from Apokalips (or otherwise has access to their technology), which I think fairly rules out a Greek god/Earth woman origin. True, we can’t assume anything in the New 52, but I think we’re given enough clues here to suggest that Orion’s origin hasn’t changed that much.

        • Oh, definitely: knowing what I know now about Orion, the suggestion that he’s Zola’s kid doesn’t make that much sense – especially given his boomery.

          Also, we haven’t had a good continuity-nerd fight in a long time. I sorta missed them. But every time we have one, I am reminded that I should read the Crises (never read …on Infinite Earths, Infinite…., or Final…). Hey, I got Blackest Night under my belt, that counts for something, right?

        • New Gods from New Genesis have Mother Boxes too. They can make Boom Tubes as well. In fact, the Apokoliptan version of a Mother Box is called a Father Box, and instead of Boom Tubes, they make Hush Tubes. But that clearly doesn’t matter in the New 52. Everyone Booms.

  5. Pingback: Wonder Woman 35 | Retcon Punch

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