Friday Feature: Wonder Woman (New 52)

For as many justified criticisms that can be levelled at DC in the past couple of years (their tendency to alienate fans, their seemingly arbitrary editing that alienates creators, their “event” cycle that tends to exhaust readers with crossovers, etc.) there are a few gems that really stand out in their line-up.

One of those is Wonder Woman. Since issue #1 of the New 52, almost every issue of Wonder Woman has been gold. With the exception of the occasional appearances of Orion (a character I don’t really get), writer Brian Azzarello has kept Diana largely separated from the rest of the DC universe. That’s actually a good thing for Wonder Woman’s character, since her story of Paradise Island, the Amazons, and Greek deities  can get pretty confusing when set in the middle of the science fiction world of Superman, Green Lantern, Batman, and Flash (and the whole gang).

But even though Diana’s stories don’t always play well in other settings, Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang have proven that a perplexing superhero, heavily modelled from Greek Mythology, can be updated in clever ways. Chiang draws the pantheon the twenty-first century needs, not the one it deserves. All of the gods and goddesses are given unique looks that suit both 2014 and the spirit of their characters. My personal favorite is Ares, who seems to have been modelled after Azzarello himself.

Left: Brian Azzarello. Right: Ares.

This current run of Wonder Woman isn’t without its flaws, but it’s also one of the best comics of the New 52. In the way that Star Wars is a fantasy space-opera, Wonder Woman is a sci-fi myth-opera. The best drama comes in the interplay between the constantly-feuding deities in the middle of which Diana or her friends are always finding themselves. If that appeals to you, then don’t miss your chance to read Wonder Woman. Volumes 1-3 are on sale now, with volume four showing up sometime this spring.

The cover of Volume 1. A very good place to start.

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