Wednesday, December 21, 2011

DC New 52 Review: Wonder Woman #4

Wonder Woman #4
Written by Brian Azzarello
Art by Cliff Chang
Cover Price: $2.99

In a nutshell:
The Goddess Hera is really pissed off that Wonder Woman is the illegitimate child of her husband and she decides to pay Paradise Island a visit.

Hera is a jealous Goddess. She is very deeply hurt that her husband seems to have no interest in her but is out shagging everyone else. She also feels betrayed by Queen Hippolyta whom she has favored. From the three previous issues I expected her to be vicious. What has surprised me and adds layers to the character, is that she genuinely seems to feel love for Hippolyta whose betrayal might hurt her as much as her husband's cheating, and regret for the vengeance she knows her anger demands. Anyone who has been in her situation can relate to her. The quality that makes her pathetic is that she continues to pine for Zeus, who is obviously unworthy of her love, instead of demanding more for herself and moving on. But then, Gods can be as human as anyone and while there are those of us who make very intentional decisions so that we are not tragedies of our circumstance, there are many that see a sense of romance in their own tragedy of love and even though of us who get beyond it have to suffer through it before hand. Meanwhile Wonder Woman is getting to know her half sister Strife and gets some perspective of her family and her relationship with her mother. But just as in life, sometimes we don't say the things we should to the people we love until it's too late...

The Good:
Here's an example of a story that isn't trying to meet our expectations of what the 21st Century would be, but adapts it's myth in an authentic manner for the time. The Greek Gods aren't so regal, they're more of a reflection of ourselves which seems appropriate and relevant. There is a depression to them which represents the depression of the times we live in which is filled with disappointment and uncertain expectations. And of course it is in a world such as this that heroism can truly have meaning. Unlike the last incarnation of Wonder Woman, this version seems accessible, more human and down to earth in her emotions, and yet even more heroic in her dealing with them.

The Bad:
Towards the end of the book Wonder Woman returns to Paradise Island and it is clear what has happened to her mother, but it's not clear what happened to the other Amazons and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to know or if it's purposefully left vague and that's never a good feeling to have when you're reading a comic. But the real bad here is that this book deserves to be pushed by DC's marketing department the same way Action Comics and Justice League is. Wonder Woman is an icon. This, while perhaps not the story I thought I wanted for Wonder Woman, is a story that finally makes the character interesting. DC has emphasized it's reinvention of Superman in this relaunch. Here we have a reinvention of Wonder Woman, another of it's icons, that mirrors it in relevance and DC hasn't given it nearly the push it deserves.

Is it worth it?
My only frustration is that I have to wait a month for the next chapter!

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