Saturday 26 December 2015
#CBR7 Books 147-148: "Wonder Woman: Guts" and "Wonder Woman: Iron" by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang
Rating: 4.5 stars
Wonder Woman's friend Zola is pregnant with a child of Zeus, and has been taken by Hades into the Underworld. Diana is determined to do whatever it takes to get her back, and since Hades is none too pleased about the way Wonder Woman and her friends tricked her and Poseidon, she may have to pay a heavy and lasting price in order to secure her friend's safety. She enlists the help of the divine smith, Hephaestus, for suitable arms and in the process discovers yet another family secret. While Diana tries to escape the bonds of matrimony with the ruler of Hell, there is another power struggle for the throne of Olympus. Apollo wants his father's throne and has his sister Artemis to help him. Hera is convinced that Zeus will return to protect what is his, but may be in for a nasty surprise.
Rating: 4 stars
Time passes differently in the Underworld, and by the time Diana makes it to Zola, she's already nearly full term in her pregnancy. Almost immediately after birth, Diana and Zola experience a terrible betrayal, as the baby is stolen away. To locate the child, it's clear that Diana will need the aid of several of her demigod siblings. Zeus' continued disappearance and the shift in power on Olympus means the reawakenings of old forces and the birth of Zola's child could have an impact on more than our world. Orion, one of the New Gods arrives to help her in her search for the baby, but clearly has his own agenda, and it's unclear whether he wants to help or harm the child. In Wonder Woman: Iron we also get a look at Diana's early years. The god of war, Ares, wants to train her into a perfect warrior, but gives her up in disgust when she eventually refuses to finish off an opponent after a battle, showing mercy instead.
I must confess, that as I read these on the same day, the plots do blend together a bit in my mind, and I'm not entirely sure what happened in each of the trade volumes. Common for both, however, is an action-packed plot full of adventure, twists and turns. Things are very rarely as they appear on a first glance or sometimes even on a second. Everyone is ready to scheme and double cross everyone else. Cliff Chiang is an excellent artist and mostly I really like his style, in both the action scenes and the more quiet moments. One exception is his depiction of Hades, as a petulant child with a sort of melty candle head. It really doesn't work for me. It's a minor niggle, however.
A bigger niggle is the introduction of Orion in the third volume. While my husband is a huge fan of Jack Kirby's New Gods and pretty much every iteration of them, I find them incredibly annoying and the only time I've not pretty much hated all of them is when Gail Simone had Big Barda in some guest appearances in Birds of Prey. So the prospect of more of them turning up in later issues is not a happy one for me. I really liked every single issue of Guts, but in Iron, there are several story lines being introduced (not just the Orion thing) that I'm not too keen on. Azzarello's portrayal of Wonder Woman, and his general take on the gods and demigods of Greek mythology is so creative and fun that I'll keep reading for at least a while longer.
Crossposted on Cannonball Read.