Patrick: A lot has been made of Hollywood’s apparent inability to adapt Wonder Woman for the screen. Is that driven by the sexism inherent in action film-making? Probably, in part. But Diana, Princess of the Amazons, suffers from a pretty severe case of “what the hell is she about?” We have easily understandable slug lines for just about any other bankable superhero: Batman is the mortal knight of vengeance; Superman is invincible alien boy scout, etc. There’s a how and a why expressed in both of those descriptions. Those attitudes have aged well, but for some reason, the essential nature of Wonder Woman is harder for creators to assert in perpetuity throughout the decades. What Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang have done in their 37 (and a half) issues of Wonder Woman is reassert just who this character is, and why her fundamental qualities are every bit as iconic as truth, justice and the American way. Continue reading
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
Patrick: Friday night, I was at a bar with some friends and — after the second round — the topic of conversation turned to “panty raids.” None of us had even participated in one nor had any of us been victim of one, but we all had these half-formed ideas from 80s college movies (and anything parodying 80s college movies). We all understood the same broad strokes: a group of men, probably a fraternity, steals underpants from a group of girls, probably a sorority. The purpose of a panty raid was still sort of elusive, and even among our small group, our perceptions of the gender and sexuality politics involved were all over the map. Is it a harmless prank? An anarchic expression of teenage sexuality? A skeezy male sexual power fantasy? That last thought hung with me through the weekend: no matter how panty raids were intended, the end result is at least a little rapey. Even something as stupid and frivolous as a panty raid has overtones of rape. Modern feminism has an awful lot to say about this prevalent rape culture, especially as a particularly glaring example of how far we really are from gender equality. As DC’s de facto symbol of feminism, Wonder Woman was bound to address the issue eventually, and the subtlety and grace of the conclusion to Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s masterpiece was the perfect place for it to happen. Continue reading
Today, Mikyzptlk and Drew are discussing Wonder Woman 25, originally released November 20th, 2013
Mikyzptlk: Strife. We’ve all felt it at one point or another. It has a way of seeping into us whether we want it to or not. No matter how patient or level-headed we try to be, we all succumb to the effects of strife every now and then. Dealing with Gods of “stuff,” Brian Azzarello has been able to use his divine characters to push his story forward in a number of ways. As you might have guessed, Azzarello uses issue 25 of Wonder Woman to place a particularly heavy focus on the character of Strife and her manipulative plans. Little does she know, Azzarello and Wonder Woman may just have plans of their own.
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.
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
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