Page 45 Review by Stephen
"This storm, Hippolyta
Its fury - "
" - Is of a woman scorned."
Yes, serial philanderer Zeus has been at it again, and this time he's no longer around to sort out the fall-out. Instead he's left a power vacuum and a very angry wife.
Although I've yet to read BATMAN VOL 1: COURT OF THE OWLS which Jonathan is so enamoured with (Snyder's BATMAN: BLACK MIRROR was chilling), I hereby declare this by far the best of the DC New 52 relaunch that I have read. Completely accessible to those who've never read nor wanted to read a single Wonder Woman story in their lives, it plays instead on Greek mythology so, so well. Hera, Hermes, Hades, Zeus, Poseidon, Apollo - they're all here, amongst others.
Being the Tom Waits of comics, Brian Azzarello is the last creator you'd expect to take on WONDER WOMAN but he's thrown himself into it with gusto, and the word-play above and the finishing-off of each others' sentences you may already recognise from his gritty crime masterpiece 100 BULLETS. It's almost Shakespearian in its punnery.
"Why, if Zeus were here, he would break your bones."
"He's not, though, is he?"
"No, he isn't. Gone into the ether, it seems. Heaven has left his throne wanting an ass to warm it. And though both of you certainly qualify in that regard, neither of you measure up to mine."
Yes, there be bawdiness to boot. I told you it was Shakespearian.
"There is a price to laying down with my husband."
"Which no one knows better than you, hmm? Where are they now?"
"That cockless coop, improperly named
Paradise Island is the home of Hippolyta and her daughter Diana (AKA Wonder Woman), and all of the rest of the Amazons. Legend and DC lore has it that Diana was created from clay, willed into being by her mother Hippolyta. Everyone knows that, for there are no men allowed on Paradise Island, hence the "cockless coop". But now a shameful secret is revealed that will turn everything on its head and allies against each other. With a mortal woman also visited by Zeus trapped in the middle, it's all-out war. Yet stand-offs threatening even more violence occasionally disperse into moments of unexpected tenderness as the women console each other in their shared sense of violation and betrayal by men. One man in particular, for the titular "blood" is not one of gore but of lineage.
Neither Chiang nor Akins are artists of the testosterone-fuelled variety and thank gods for that. The photo-realists and sugar-buzz spectaculars have their place, but here they'd get in the way of what is essentially a humane tale of improvised camaraderie and a battle of wits. Instead this boasts some highly imaginative design work like Lord Hades, his head lit up as a massive candle, its wax dripping down to obscure his face and, perhaps, his intentions.
To be continued. Oh very yes: to be continued indeed!