Thursday, May 22, 2014

New 52 Review: Wonder Woman, volume 3

Book #18: Wonder Woman Volume 3: Iron, hardcover collection, containing issues 0 and 13-18, by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, and other artists. 

Continuing the story of the prior volumes (Blood, reviewed here, and Guts, reviewed here), we continue to explore the mystery of Zola’s baby. Fathered by Zeus, the innocent child is potentially incredibly powerful. And for Olympians, potential power is a threat.

But the old gods of Olympus are not the only powerful beings interested in the baby’s fate. Orion of the New Gods is sent into the fray, but his job is actually to destroy the child. And another powerful being is rising from the icy north, and he has some old scores to settle with his contemporaries. Azzarello continues to tell a sprawling epic that is just as much political thriller as it is superhero tale.  And for me, that’s a good thing.

This volume also includes the excellent “issue 0” origin story. Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang provide us a story in the style (writing and art) of the Golden Age of comics. And it works so well that I'm willing to give the writer the benefit of the doubt that some of the cheesier moments were in fact "homage" to the 1940's way of telling a comic book story. In the story, a young Diana battles the Minotaur in a coming-of-age tale that does a great job of explaining how this iteration of this character developed.

Chiang’s art continues to be strong, bringing a unique form of dynamism to the stories. He continues to be unable to pencil all of the issues, but the “fill in” art of Tony Akins is nearly as strong. In those few cases another artist has to step in, I was less pleased with the results. Chaing and Akins both do a good job of presenting us an “otherworldly” vision of the Amazons, even when they are in “our world.” I generally don’t notice art when reading comics, unless the art is distractingly bad. But Chaing’s work here (and Akins, to a lesser extent) specifically adds to my overall enjoyment of these stories.

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