Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wonder Woman v2: Guts HC

I find myself in an odd spot I can recognize that Brian Azzarello is doing some really neat stuff with this take on Wonder Woman. But even the biggest fan of this series has to admit this is starring a different character than the one appearing in Justice League. This is a Wonder Woman produced for a Vertigo world, a world without other super heroes.

While reading the first trade, I was a little frustrated at how much of an ensemble book this really is. Wonder Woman shares the pages with Hermes, Eros, Hephaestus, and more. That’s not counting the villains and tweeners that muddy the mythological waters. The trade tells the story of Diana’s near-marriage to Hades, who in this series looks like a creepy kid with melting candles on his head. What is more Vertigo than that?

This is a dark book, like most of the new 52 line. To be honest, I find it distracting. The scene with the car bomb features flying limbs and guts, along with a person carrying a dead child in the background. Then there are the many corpses lying shredded on the ground. I get it. This shows just what War does when he’s wandering the Earth. But man, that is just too much for me. Once again, the DCU is no place to be an innocent bystander.

But perhaps the most upsetting thing in the trade is when Hephaestus explains the “true history” of Paradise Island. You see, every few decades, the Amazons go out in boats and board ships sailing around the ocean. They climb aboard in the buff and get busy with all the sailors. After “draining them of life” they slit their throats and toss them overboard. Then upon returning to Paradise Island, they wait for the babies. The girls get to join the sisterhood of the island, while the males are sold as slaves to Hephaestus. Now, Hephaestus actually treats them pretty well, but… still.

How is someone supposed to take that? Doesn’t that drastically weaken the core concept of Wonder Woman as champion of her people sent out into the world? I mean, how embarrassed must DC Comics be at the idea of a perfect island of women warriors that this is the new origin for the #1 woman in comics? I find it absolutely stunning.

So yes, this is an interesting story, a mature take on the Greek gods and how they might fit in to the modern world. As a story, I find it pretty good.

But as a WONDER WOMAN story, I think it is tremendously damaging. I can certainly never mention anything about this book to my two daughters, who adore Wonder Woman. It really bugs me that DC tries so hard to distance itself from anything innocent or optimistic. This is an EVIL comic for what it does to the first lady of comics.

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