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 →
DC has staked their claim on the month of September. Two years ago saw the relaunch of the entire publishing line, and last year saw special “zero” issues for every series. This year, DC is releasing 52 issues featuring villains, old and new, from the DC Universe. There’s no one-for-one correspondence to existing series, and DC hasn’t been the most forthcoming with information about what exactly they’re putting out. There’s a lot to sort through here and no easy answers for what’s going to be worth our time and money. Welcome to the Chat Cave. 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.
We generally avoid quantifying our enthusiasm around here — we’ll gladly praise or condemn comics as our tastes dictate, but turning that into a grade or a score makes us uncomfortable. As there are in our pull-list, there are holes in this ‘Best of’ list. Mea culpa. We’ve had some great experiences with comics this year, and these are the series that were consistently fun, thoughtful and beautiful. Too subjective for a year-end list? Ignore the rankings. Any way you slice it, these are fantastic series that deserve the scrutiny we heap on everything. Each is a rewarding read and well worth your attention. Our picks for the top 12 series of 2012:
Today, Scott and Taylor are discussing Wonder Woman 14, originally released November 21st, 2012.
Scott: ‘Tis the season for excess. We eat too much, spend too much, we eat too much again and, when things start feeling a little hectic, we tend to think too much. So, as I sit here debating whether to have more stuffing or more mashed potatoes, I can’t help but wonder if Wonder Woman is biting off more than it can chew. Of course, that’s silly; this comic has proven time and time again that it is one of the most clever and well thought-out series around. So the fact that this issue followed four separate storylines in four distant locations shouldn’t worry me, right? But if Wonder Woman is going to turn into the great meal I know it can be, at some point all of these different ingredients are going to have to come together on one plate, so to speak (I don’t know if I’m trying too hard to make this into a Thanksgiving analogy, or not hard enough).
Today, Taylor and Scott are discussing Wonder Woman 13, originally released October 17th, 2012.
Taylor: Continuity is a something I appreciate. I enjoy waking up in the morning having a fairly good sense of who I am, where I am, what I’ve been doing and what I need to do during the coming day. I also appreciate continuity in its more mundane and nuanced forms; I appreciate the fact that I can expect my coffee to taste a certain way and even that I can expect the people I know to behave and think in a similar to fashion to that of the day before. Most days I can appreciate the regularity of the subway that takes me to work every morning, but as happens every so often (or more often than not lately), that continuity and expectation of service is broken. Whether it’s an equipment malfunction, signal failures, or a sick passenger, the Red Line of the CTA has a knack for failing to deliver on its promised, regular service that drives me to absolute madness. Maybe I appreciate regularity more than the normal person, but I think most people can appreciate a certain amount of continuity in their life, whether it’s in their daily commute or their comic books. Wonder Woman is a title that garners a fair amount of its strength from consistency, which by no means is a bad thing.
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Wonder Woman 11, originally released July 18th, 2012.
Patrick: Drew! It has been ages since you and I wrote about this series together. Last month, we had help from guest-writer (and voice of our Cram Sessions), Siri Hellerman. Otherwise, Shelby usually gets in on writing about Wonder Woman, and we’re thrilled to get that female perspective. It’s by pure random chance that you and I selected the butchest issue of Wonder Woman yet to review. Thankfully, the more action-heavy tone didn’t overpower the series’ usual style, cleverness and depth. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and (special guest writer) Siri Hellerman are discussing Wonder Woman 10, originally released June 20th, 2012.
Drew: Fantasy is always going to have an exposition problem. It’s hard enough establishing who everyone is and what their motivations are elegantly without having to explain the rules of various magics or the politics between various races. This is especially true of myths, where the stories are often distilled down to their essence, such that any details (which could otherwise be written off as just adding color) bears obvious narrative significance, as if Chekov himself were pointing them out for you. Brian Azzarello manages to side-step this issue both by relying on pre-esstablished myths (voiding any need for exposition), and by mirthfully keeping us in the dark regarding much of those telling details. Continue reading →