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, Scott and Mikyzptlk are discussing Wonder Woman 24, originally released October 16th, 2013.
Scott: I love reading Wonder Woman. Brian Azzarello is now 24 issues into his run on this title, yet I feel like I’ve read 50. I mean that in a good way. The world he’s created is so vivid, the characters so constantly evolving that I feel like I’ve spent more time with them than I really have. Wonder Woman 24is dependent on every member of the title’s diverse cast, and just about everyone has something new to offer. It isn’t the most thrilling comic book ever written, but it’s pleasing in a way that really no other title can replicate. Simply, Wonder Woman feels like a place where everybody knows my name, and they’re always glad I came. I never want to leave. 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, Shelby and Scott are discussing Wonder Woman 21, originally released June 19th, 2013. Check out Drew’s exclusive interview with Brian Azzarello here!
Shelby: I recently bought PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, a button-masher fighting game that’s a whole lot of fun. It’s basically Super Smash Brothers, but with characters like Nathan Drake, Sly Cooper, Kratos, etc. I think this game is great because it’s all about mindless smashy smashing; you pick your character and then try to punch the other characters as much as possible. Loads of fun, but nothing much in the story department. I also recently played through Heavy Rain, an interactive-drama game where you play through a series of quicktime events to find the killer before he strikes again. Not a lot of action, mostly “press triangle to ask a question, press square to sit at the table” sort of stuff, but the story and character development is breathtaking. It had me on the edge of my seat, and the ending totally caught me by surprise. I like both of these games, and I’d recommend either of them, but they take very different approaches to entertainment: one mindless and awesome fighting, the other slower paced, but with incredible character moments. Brian Azzarello is not one to be content with one or the other; Wonder Woman 21 manages to give us both big action and quiet character development, and is wholly satisfying on both counts. Continue reading →
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 →
Today, Drew and Scott are discussing Wonder Woman 18, originally released March 20th, 2013.
Drew: Wonder Woman is a hard title to pin down, which makes sense, given that its hero is equally slippery. Detractors might cite Diana’s unknowability as weak characterization, but as we saw in issue 9, that distance may be the sharpest weapon in writer Brian Azzarello’s arsenal. Azzarello seems to relish ambiguity, focusing on heroes that are anything but predictable. Issue 18 multiplies this effect, capitalizing on his large cast of equally oblique characters to produce a staggering parade of surprises.
Today, Scott and Taylor are discussing Wonder Woman 16, originally released February 20th, 2013.
Scott: Early on in Wonder Woman 17, Lennox calls Diana out for the ever-expanding “motley crew” she surrounds herself with. It’s a moment of self-awareness on the part of Brian Azzarello, who gets a lot of attention for his habit of constantly incorporating new characters into the Wonder Woman universe. It’s something that can be off-putting for readers who are not immersed in the universe, and it’s a daring move in a medium that published monthly. I’m sure some casual readers flipped through this issue and found it thoroughly confusing and, save for the giant shark attack, kind of boring. But for readers who have kept up with the series, this issue did not have a dull moment.
Today, Shelby and guest writer James D’Amato are discussing Wonder Woman 16, originally released January 23rd, 2012.
Shelby: Gods, gods everywhere. Brian Azzarello does not take a “less is more” approach when it comes to the pantheon; we’ve got old gods, older gods, demigods, new gods, and non-gods. Not to mention ice giants and cyborg women. If it all sounds a little confusing, well, it is; Azzarello is juggling a lot of chainsaws with Wonder Woman. On top of it all, we’ve still got the $64,000 question that everyone seems to have forgotten about: where is Zeus? Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Scott are discussing Wonder Woman 15, originally released December 19th, 2012.
Drew: We’ve said it before, and I’m sure we’ll say it again: comic books are modern mythology. This is an idea Brian Azzarello has devoted Wonder Woman to exploring. I always like when art self-reflects in this way, but Azzarello never does anything so simply. The intersection of ancient mythology and comics mythology has proven to be fertile ground for essays on the nature of myth, but has tied the discussion to the world of fiction. In Wonder Woman 15, Azzarello confronts us with mythologized characters from reality, opening up the whole world of art-imitating-life-imitating-art discussions. It’s a strange, complicated arena of thought, but with Azzarello at the helm, I’m sure it will be a satisfying one. Continue reading →