Review: Wonder Woman #5

Wonder Woman #5, cover by Cliff Chiang

Wonder Woman is too many things to too many people.  Inevitably, any attempt to do a bold declaration of “This is what Wonder Woman stands for” turns out to be fairly divisive.  She is an ambassador of peace, but she is also a great warrior and military strategist.  She is chosen by the goddess of love, but no love interest will ever be worthy of her in the eyes of her fans. The contradictions continue, and help explain (I believe) why there is no one definitive Wonder Woman story for her fans.  Perhaps my favorite part about Brian Azzarello’s current run on Wonder Woman is that he doesn’t delve deep into Diana’s character and lose himself in that particular hall of mirrors.  No, under Azzarello’s pen, Wonder Woman is a supremely confident action heroine fighting massive, horrific enemies who see humans more as ants than people, a superhero trying to beat back the tide of a horror film.  It probably shouldn’t work.  It so does.

That’s not to say that Diana lacks a personality.  Wonder Woman #5, titled “Lourdes”, deals with many of the same issues Azzarello has been playing with all along – issues of family, as Diana finds out the truth about her father and gains new, untrustworthy siblings; of loss, as she copes with the death of her mother; and of loyalty, as she defends humanity from her new family.  We don’t need to be told who Wonder Woman is – her actions and reactions tell us everything we need to know.

“Lourdes” isn’t my favorite issue of Wonder Woman.  In fact, it’s probably my least favorite since the relaunch.  The introduction of the mysterious Lennox, who shares family with Diana and may know some family secrets she doesn’t, opens up some interesting story possibilities, but is clumsily handled here.  His too-cool attitude and mysterious knowledge, combined with Wonder Woman’s fascination with his fairly bland origin story, make him seem a bit like a Mary Sue.  And Tony Akins turns in some solid work – I particularly like his bizarre, monstrous take on Poseidon – but doesn’t entirely fit in with the tone Azzarello and Chiang had been building

All that said, it’s still a fairly solid issue.  A late issue twist that doubles as Wonder Woman’s first shot at Hera is both hilarious and fascinating, and the issue sets up a potentially fascinating story as Hades and Poseidon join Apollo in the contest to take over for the now-absent Zeus.  Similarly, Wonder Woman’s budding relationships with Hermes and Zola is refreshing, and offers a pleasant contrast with the no-nonsense warrior side of her we saw in early issues.  Wonder Woman is a character full of contradictions – but then, most real people are.  Azzarello’s surprisingly confident take on the character presents those contradictions to us without comment and lets us be the judge.  And in this thrilling, stylish story of one woman rising up to defend us from the gods, I have to say, I like what I see.

Cal C.

read/RANT

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6 thoughts on “Review: Wonder Woman #5

  1. This one lost me after issue four. Too much moping around and bullshitting and not nearly enough moving the plot forward and action.

    • That’s fair. The ongoing narrative is moving along at a pretty fair clip if you think about all that’s happened – Zeus disappears, Hera assaults Zola, kills Hippolyta, and transmutes the Amazons into snakes, and Poseidon, Hades and Apollo all prepare for war for Zeus’ throne.

      But the downside is, it’s a lot of preparation. Sure, there has been some great action and some chilling moments, but it’s been measured by a lot of thoughtfulness, scene-setting and atmosphere.

      I’d recommend checking out the trade when it comes out, since it sounds like the story and idea intrigued you, but wasn’t moving fast enough. I just re-read the first 5 issues in one sitting, and it’s a much smoother ride that way.

  2. Great review! Very well written. I just might have to catch up on “Wonder Woman.” It was one of those runs that lost me a couple issues in, but the break wasn’t bad and I would be more than willing to give it another go.

    • The book does have its problems. Besides a few I outline above, there’s the pace – I think part of the reason some people are dropping the book is because the issues have a very slow, oppressive feel to them. They read much better as part of a whole than as individual chapters, unfortunately, which makes me suspect it’ll be a much more popular trade or hardcover than it will single issue story.

      • Maybe its been easier for Azzarello compared to others like Simone though? He pretty much got her as a fresh slate with this relaunch. So while past writers could mold her about to how they wanted it, they may still have felt like they had to keep her at a certain level; at the same time Azzarello has started her from the beginning of the relaunch and so may have felt like he had a bit more freedom with Diana. If it was pre-relaunch, things may not come off this nice and fresh and new.

        But then, the world will never know now.

  3. This issue did it for me, worst book ever!!!! Lousy story, lousy art, ridiculous illustrations of the Gods, Poseidon is now a giant frog like creature, give me a break!!!! I can no longer support this trash financially and refuse to pay $3.00 for a book I cannot stomach reading. Never have I witnessed lazier writing..six issues in and we still know nothing about her, what her powers are now? The only thing we know is that some bastard made her the daughter of Zeus, totally ruing everything about who and what Wonder Woman is and stood for, The art is cartoonish, flat and one dimensional. A piece of trash for $3.00 no thanks!!!!!

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