Review: Wonder Woman Volume 2 – Guts / Author: Brian Azzarello / Artist: Cliff Chiang / Publisher: DC Comics / Release Date: Out Now
Mythic storytelling is a term often used to describe a tale that is epic and ancient in scale. It’s often overused when talking about modern interpretations of old stories, and is perhaps not a term you’d expect to hear in conjunction with DC’s Wonder Woman. However, Brian Azzarello’s take on this often underused heroine is both epic and mythic in many fascinating ways.
Wonder Woman Volume 2: Guts (the first volume is called Blood), takes the red, white and blue-clad warrior woman back to her roots. The character’s origins lie in Greek myth, and this an adventure that features the Greek Gods as major antagonists. The central plot device revolves around a young girl called Zola, who happens to be carrying the child of Zeus. Wonder Woman swears to protect her, and gets embroiled in the petty games of the gods.
They are some lovely moments here. Ever wondered how Paradise Island maintains a female-only population? The issue is handled beautifully, as is the central character’s reaction to the truth. The consequences of a world in which the gods are very active are handled clearly and cleverly, and Azzarello elevates Wonder Woman from the status of a clichéd superhero and into the realms of a mythic character. The central protagonist’s role in the story gives us a good idea of what each deity is about and the world in which Wonder Woman exists becomes deeper and more interesting with every page.
The artwork is consistently pretty and engaging. The various character designs are distinctive and well thought out, and the multiple locations are rendered in loving detail. Hades is handled especially well, and the overall design amplifies the tale with great success. The book does stumble in pacing toward the end; there’s simply too much going on in the build up to the finale for it not to get messy. This is a re-imagining of the character, so no prior knowledge is needed. Those expecting invisible planes and goofy gadgets will be disappointed; however, the core idea, that of a kick-ass warrior woman protecting the weak and innocent, has not only been maintained but improved and given extra pathos. Recommended.