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Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Blood (The New 52) Comics – January 15, 2013
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Pity the poor superhero writers, eternally obligated to balance comfortable familiarity with fresh reinvention. Azzarello leans toward the latter, counting on the fact that, for the world’s most famous superheroine, relatively little of Wonder Woman’s backstory is widely known. He also jettisons proper superheroing in favor of mythological intrigue, as Princess Diana protects a mortal woman pregnant with the child of Zeus, with the political future of Olympus in the balance. Diana also learns the truth of her own heritage: she was not born of clay but is herself a child of Zeus and a victim of a lifelong lie. Azzarello brings the harder-than-usual-hitting action and razor-sharp dialogue from his tough-as-nails 100 Bullets, establishing his heroine as a fierce protector and a woman in search of community. Chiang, meanwhile, merges modern streamlined figures and gritty combat with a classical sense of beauty for a look that’s distinctive, but not dissonant, within contemporary superhero comics. Among DC’s massive relaunch, the New 52, Wonder Woman stands slightly outside the pack to establish its own mythology and sense of fun. --Jesse Karp --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“This is clear storytelling at its best….It’s an intriguing concept and easy to grasp. The reader doesn’t need to know that much about Wonder Woman because she is, well, Wonder Woman.” – The New York Times
“Azzarello is...rebuilding the mythology of Wonder Woman.” – Maxim
“Azzarello is crafting a highly-intelligent, and surprisingly gory, affair that's drenched in Greek mythology and godly mischief. And if that's not enough, artist Cliff Chiang simply kills it on every panel he touches. Put your presumptions aside because this is actually a Wonder Woman book worth reading.” – Complex Magazine
“This series will hopefully elevate Diana back into the limelight with Superman and Batman where she belongs.” – Christian Science Monitor
“Beautifully illustrated and brings a fresh, fascinating and fun take to the Amazon Princess and her world.” – IGN
“It’s a different direction for Wonder Woman, but one still steeped in mythology...great things from Azzarello and Chiang.” – The Onion AV Club
“Enthralling.” - UGO
“This book is weird and worth your while.” – io9
“It’s the kind of writing that’s made Azzarello such a sought after comic book author.” – CraveOnline
“Brian Azzarello is going for a much more horror-oriented book than previous incarnations, and that works well with Cliff Chiang’s art. In fact, they’re probably one of the best paired teams for the New 52 so far.” – Comic Book Resources
“Page after page, Azzarello just unfurls more and more smart ideas in what is probably the best hope for the great Wonder Woman story we’ve all been hoping for. Unsurprisingly, Cliff Chiang delivers some phenomenal visuals, presenting us with a heroine who reads as dynamic, elegant, powerful, and even godly. People, I think they’ve figured it out.” – iFanboy
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This volume is part of an extended arc which I really like - it's got stories within stores. It has sophisticated feel; unlike other comic series that feel very choppy with one huge plot after another, this one is like one really big story/mystery with small stories woven throughout. I really appreciate that consistency as it makes you care more about these characters and gives them more depth - even the ones you would normally write off as shallow. Azzarello is a great writer and has done some really good work here.
About the Amazons. The Amazons here are not a perfect society - which I find much more realistic. There is no such thing as utopia, and I always found it weird how a small and stagnant (though not so stagnant in all versions) society completely cut off from the rest of the world could be so presumptuous to think that they could teach the rest of the world how to live in peace. Peace is challenged by differences, and with so much uniformity among the Amazons, they're not exactly experts in dealing with those differences. (Example: When the Bana-Mighdall arrived at Themiscyra, civil war broke out.)
So while these new Amazons are not perfect and do commit morally reprehensible acts, I find them more "real" and interesting.
So what else? I really like that this book is apart from Justice League and the Superman/Wonder Woman series. I follow both of those as well, but WW is a character that can definitely support her own book without help from other characters. Also, her story simply has nothing to do with what's going on in the mainstream JL comic.
About the Artwork. I found Cliff Chiang's art very strange in the beginning. I don't know how to describe it properly, but it's kind of flat looking and...well it simply doesn't look anything like the art from other comic books. But now I love it! When I read a different series, I find myself missing his style. Once you get into it, you LOVE it. It's beautiful art - but takes a bit of getting used to. I hope Azzarello and Chiang stick together for this series because they are an excellent team.
SPOILERS alert!!! Instead of being formed from clay and gifted by the gods, Diana is Hyppolyta's daughter from an affair with Zeus. They use the original clay story as a cover story (to avoid Hera's wrath) which I thought was neat. While some people think it takes away what makes her unique, I think it makes more sense (although I never hated the other origin story). It also offers her a personal mystery which motivates her into seeking answers.
If you're new to Wonder Woman or looking for a good series to read from the New 52, then I definitely recommend this book. It's just much more interesting than other stories about her, and overall, I think it's my favorite series from the New 52. If you're a big WW fan but feel reluctant about all the changes you've heard about, I recommend that you give it a chance.
I've also read Wonder Woman: Odyssey Vol. 1 which is okay, but this is way better.
To put it bluntly, this volume barely feels like it belongs in the DC Universe. The entire focus of Wonder Woman's activities is her family, ie the Greek Pantheon. The Justice League is not even mentioned. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. Azzarello sets up a very large scale power struggle between all the Greek Gods, with Wonder Woman trying contain the damage. It's a decent read, and I think it will get even better in coming issues.
I will admit when I first starting reading this volume I did not know what to expect. Out of all the DC hero's WW is the one I know least about. From what I gathered, before the new 52 her origin story was that her mother made her from clay. Here that changes... alot. The way they incorporated this magical birth in this version was cool. But when this was shown to be a myth i was taken back. The way they wrote it was so cool. WW's mother, who's womb was bare, wished for a daughter. One night she went out to a field and in the clay ground she molded a baby. And then the Gods gave her a child. That idea was awesome so when it was proven this was no true, I actually was bummed. Until I kept reading. Not only does this change her origin but it changes everything about her. They actions of her mother have ripple effects and you feel it through to the last page. Aside from all that, there seemed to a good balance of simple dialogue and combat. I am pleased that I decided to buy this volume and i will be getting volume 2 next month.
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