My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Reviewed this one earlier on in my Goodreads career and I’m currently rereading the Azzarello run so I felt this book deserved a more thoughtful review.
Azzarello’s run grabbed me pretty quick. I really dug how he brought in the Greek gods and went a totally different direction from the rest of the New 52 stuff DC has put out. Brian avoided what I would consider the low road of having Superman, Batman, or any of the other Justice Leaguers drop by just to sell books. I’m actually surprised how many people bought into this version of Diana. Azzarello not only ignored the rest of the DC universe (for the most part), but messes with Wonder Woman’s origin, pours on the violence, and doesn’t have Diana running around in a thong the entire time. Yet he still manages to tie in a healthy portion of Diana’s canon beginning with a return to Paradise Island and her Amazon heritage. Love the way Brian depicts the Amazons as being similar to the Spartans of Miller’s 300. Not necessarily all that original, just fond of that portrayal.
He also puts a creative spin on interpreting the Greek gods in a modern world. Hera as the jealously bitter wife, eager to punish any tramp that her old man hammers. Hermes and Apollo are pretty cool. Azarello’s eyeless Ares might be the one I like the most. The nonchalant chat between Apollo and Ares in a bar while a bloody massacre take place just outside was a killer moment. The interactions between the gods on the whole are modernized and I love the back and forth between them as they interact with one another. Lennox is another character that shows promise. He claims to be yet another of Zeus’ little bastards and I’m curious to see what he’s all about.
Azzarello’s humor is intact, while somewhat subdued. Moments like Hera describing Themyscira as a “cockless coop improperly named Paradise Island” or her jab at Poseidon and Hades that Zeus has “left his throne without an ass to warm it” and that neither of theirs “measure up” to hers. I’ve always appreciated how well Azzarello writes a wise ass. His trademark violence is also present and accounted for beginning in the very first book. The birth of the centaur assassins is pretty gruesome.
On to Cliff Chiang’s and Tony Akins’ art. While I certainly understand why some would not like Chiang’s simple style, I’m really crushing on it. His minimalist approach is not overly sexualized (like some other past depictions of Diana) and really suited to Azzarello’s stuff. Took me a minute to warm up to Hades’ design. I think Anne referred to him as “Birthday Cake Head” at some point…chuckle…and he’s comes off a little silly at first. But I warmed up to the little guy eventually. Sorta the same thing with Poseidon. Looks a little like a pufferfish mixed with a bulldog. But Chiang made these characters his own and I like the ballsyness of it. Fuck convention. Tony’s stuff is okay too. Not as nice as Cliff’s in my opinion, but similar enough that there isn’t that jarring change between their separate issues that can fuck up a book’s rhythm.
Overall, this book is an outside the box approach to a character that was probably due for an overhaul. While I certainly don’t think this book is for everyone, I would recommend the title to anyone that isn’t opposed to breaking with traditions and is open minded to a new interpretation of an old character. And be aware, Azzarello writes for the long haul, so this is just the beginning of a much longer story and not a collection of bite sized tales. Probably not something for the ADD fan that likes one shots or shorter stories typically. I’m definitely on board for the full ride.