Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Wonder Woman 34, originally released October 1st, 2014
“Hey mouse, say cheese.”
<Bart takes a picture of the Itchy robot, scrambling its circuits.>
“With a dry cool wit like that, I could be an action hero.”
Bart Simpson, Itchy & Scratchy Land
Patrick: It’s a good thing all of our action heroes have a team of writers working quietly behind them, because audiences hold this irrational expectation that heroic actions be punctuated by hilarious, insightful, precise quips. This is a trend that I’ve come to hate, largely because those pure little micro-tweets are so seldom earned. How do you put a character through the paces so thoroughly that acerbic wit feels natural tumbling out of their victorious mouths? They’re not poets or comedians or scholars — they’re warriors, but somehow they know to belch out a characteristically perfect “Yippy-kai-yay, motherfucker” or a “Welcome to Earth” or even a “get away from her, you bitch!” Thing is: those three examples all work because we’re there with Bruce Willis, Will Smith and Sigourney Weaver. It’s not just about having the dry cool wit, but waiting until the audience and the character need the release of such a quip, instead of handing them out willy-nilly. As Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang narrow in on their epic Wonder Woman conclusion, they’re cashing in on all those cheesy action movie beats. And they’ve earned every damn second — the result is unadulterated climax, satisfying on just about every level. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Wonder Woman 32, originally released June 18th, 2014.
Shelby: Often times for me, the hardest part about writing any of these posts is this very intro. I always want to find some overarching theme in the issue, or one relevant anecdote from my past to broadly introduce the issue. I used to write the intro last on a regular basis, so I could find that one theme as I was writing. I couldn’t possibly use that approach with this post, however. Brian Azzarello has given me so many individual moments to get excited about this issue, the best I can do at coming up with a unifying theme is to marvel at how beautifully the pieces fit together to create the whole.
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Wonder Woman 30, originally released April 16th, 2014.
Taylor: The internet is an amazing tool. The rhetorical nature of that comment is almost so great that it’s remarkable, but I think it’s occasionally a good exercise to step back and take stock of the amazing things that make up our world. In the recent past the internet has caused real social change given its ability to unite people behind a singular cause. In particular, the movement for gender equality seems to be gaining more and more steam, as both women and men are able to voice their experiences with prejudice in their daily lives. Comics, being a reflection of the world of which gave them birth, are also picking up on this trend. It seems only natural that Wonder Woman, a title which features an empowered female lead, would eventually weigh in on this subject. However, the subtlety and grace with which it broaches this topic in issue 30 is both unexpected and wonderfully wrought, making for an memorably understated episode.
Today, Patrick and Scott are discussing Wonder Woman 29, originally released March 19th, 2014.
Patrick: Twitch Plays Pokemon allowed thousands of people all over the world to play one game of Pokemon Red together. This means the poor game was getting thousands of simultaneous inputs from players across the globe all with different agendas. Cultures sprang up on Reddit around specific Pokemon (which were all nicknamed hilarious things because actually typing a name in the game resulted in total nonsense) and weird little quirks of playing the game cooperatively (most famously, the Cult of Helix Fossil worked tirelessly to get the character to use a context-specific item in all contexts). Shit got weird, but it was a weirdness of consensus, a horrible democracy that gave shape to what “Twitch Plays Pokemon” means. This is largely true for long-lasting comic book characters as well — they pass through so many hands that the meta story of how they came to be can often eclipse the in-world origins. That’s why all your favorite heroes are irreconcilable messes of conflicting stories and ideas, and mixed together into one semi-coherent identity. Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman looks to change that for the titular heroine, giving her purpose, direction, vision and identity without having to wait for thousands of players to agree on the same input. Continue reading →
Today, Scott and Shelby are discussing Wonder Woman 28, originally released February 19, 2014.
Scott: What works out for one person often effects someone else negatively. Recently, I was getting ready to go on a long trip, so I lined up a subletter to stay in my apartment. It was going to be perfect. Until, that is, she got an offer to house-sit somewhere else and backed out of our deal. It worked out well for her, but it left me scrambling. What I’m trying to say is, never celebrate a plan until it’s complete, because it can always be derailed by someone else’s plan. I’m not trying to advocate Murphy’s Law or anything, but as Wonder Woman 28 teaches us, most plans are foiled, and even when your goal is within grasp it can still blow up in your face. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Wonder Woman 26, originally released December 18th, 2013.
Patrick: On Brian Azzarello’s Mount Olympus, the gods and demigods all serve very specific purposes. When he shows up out of nowhere at the end of the issue, Dio identifies himself as the god of “the truffle harvest, tragedies, luxuries, parks and galleries.” That’s a weird concept, but one we always embrace when discussing mythological creatures: sure, I get why we need a god of the hunt (or wine or sword making or whatever). But, like, it’s a nonsense conceit, made all the more explicit by Zola asking “what’s a truffle?” Beyond being avatars of various nouns, the gods are also a family, and the roles they play within that family are just as indicative of the parts they play in this on-going drama. They are victims and bullies, martyrs and defenders, cousins, long-lost-sisters and little brothers. The mix of the divine and the human is sublime, making every turn of this series as surprising as it is inevitable. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Scott are discussing Wonder Woman 22, originally released July 17th, 2013.
Taylor: Brian Azzarello certainly has a way of making us do a double take while reading Wonder Woman. The man has a talent for bending his plots in unlikely directions while also making us second guess everyone’s motivations with almost every new issue. It’s likely that when Wonder Woman was rebooted, some were similarly thrown for a loop when Azzarello depicted the gods as being petty, mean, and downright hostile to just about everyone but themselves. While anyone who has ever read a Greek myth recognizes the dickish mentality of the Greek pantheon, it seems likely that others might have been surprised. The popular conception of heaven and god(s) in today’s culture takes a much more touchy-feely approach with our deities. Instead of being something to be feared, we like to think of deities as being righteous, compassionate, and selfless. Azzarello seems to understand how these two forces are at odds and in issue 22 of Wonder Woman he asks us to compare the Greek gods with their New God alternates. The question is, are they the same or are they different?
Today, Drew and Scott are discussing Wonder Woman 20, originally released May 15th, 2013.
I said, war, huh Good God, y’all What is it good for Absolutely nothing Say it again
— Edwin Starr
Drew: War is ugly. There’s death, there’s destruction, there’s misery, but I think the ugliest thing about war is that we’ll never be free of it — it’s in our nature. Things quickly escalate from the desire to protect the people and things we care about, to a “the best defense is a good offense” mentality, to tit-for-tat reciprocity. It’s all too easy to see how vast groups of people — motivated only to do what is right for their loved ones — could be compelled to all-out war. In his Wonder Woman run, Brian Azzarello has traced this trajectory with grim fascination, simmering the tension along as the situation slowly escalates. This month finds that tension boiling over with three factions engaged in war — with the added complication that War itself is also a character. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Scott are discussing Wonder Woman 19, originally released April 17th, 2013.
Drew: Wonder Woman 18 ended on an atypically happy note — Zola was reunited with her baby, Diana and Ares seemed to have patched things up, Hera had found a bottle of wine — but the end of those good times is lurking around every corner. Unfortunately, Diana and friends may be caught unawares, mistaking their recent battles for the coming war. Indeed, when wagering on the outcome of that war, Poseidon discounts Diana, suggesting that he “always bet[s] against a player who doesn’t know they’re in the game.” Poseidon has made the mistake of underestimating Diana before, but he may have a point: while her adversaries are arming themselves, Diana seems to be distracted by more basic team maintenance. Continue reading →