New 52 Wonder Woman

Cliff Chiang's Wonder Woman

Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman

The most recent revamp of Wonder Woman is one of the most enjoyable comics I’ve come across in a while. It reads like Neil Gaiman’s Sandman by way of Image’s recent Saga. I first noticed the series because of this fantastic cover (issue 24, october 2013), and promptly burned through the first three collected volumes on Comixology in two days. It is, so far, the only comic other than Rat Queens that I have considered buying individual issues of as they come out, rather than waiting for the inevitable compilations.

There is a kind of Lichtensteinian feeling to the art that is reminiscent of some stylized comic golden age, but it also feels recent and fresh (I think this is because of the color and writing). The character designs are also continuously enjoyable. I found myself looking forward to how each of the Olympians would be realized (the only one that I didn’t really care for was Poseidon). For a flagship book, there is a surprising amount of graphic violence, including a horse’s head being severed with a centaur’s upper body erupting from the hole, and Diana’s arms drenched to the elbow in blood from combat. That said, it somehow manages to avoid seeming gratuitous and instead supports a sense of mythological seriousness. In fact, I would say that the art by Cliff Chiang is almost without misstep. The work by Tony Akins (issue 13, 14, and 17, at least) is not as successful for me, and Goran Sudzuka does the penciling for some of the newer issues that I haven’t gotten to yet, and so can’t speak to, but overall the art situation is pretty amazing.

The story itself does not read like a superhero book, which to me is a positive. I have warmed slightly to the superhero genre, but in general I prefer other types of story. As I mentioned above, Gaiman’s Sandman is actually the first thing that I though of when reading through the recent Wonder Woman. This is the story of the interactions of cosmic personalities, many of which are not clearly heroes of villains (though Apollo serves as a main villain proxy to some extent). Like the Olympians of mythology, the dominant feature of most of these characters is a sort of myopic selfishness coupled with tremendous power. There’s also some situational humor that I appreciate (mostly involving Hera).

I will leave you with a few image selections. All images are scaled screen captures from the digital Comixology compilations.

Cliff Chiang's Hades

Cliff Chiang’s Hades

Cliff Chiang's Hera

Cliff Chiang’s Hera

Wonder Woman with a Lara Croft Vibe

Wonder Woman with a Lara Croft Vibe

11 thoughts on “New 52 Wonder Woman

  1. jeffepp

    It is worth noting that it is completely self-contained. As far as the story goes, there is no New 52 Universe out there, just this story alone. It is the last of the N52U comics I still get, barring the Masters of the Universe crossover title.

    I find the relationship change with Aries, in this version of the story, to be a nice change. I will say no more on that, to avoid spoilers for new readers.

    In the Olympian power struggle, I find it notable that Athena, the heir apparent of Zeus, is totally absent, even in reference. It may mean something, or not. Just an observation, given that both the Marvel and old DCU have/had reached the point where she had ascended the throne.

  2. Rachel Ghoul

    Jeff, that’s an interesting point to raise. As a fan of Athena I would like to see more of her.

    I’ve been (justifiably) hard on the New52, but my only complaints about Azzarello’s Wonder Woman are that first, I wish she’d kept the costume she was wearing before the reboot, second, I think they made the Amazons a little too dark, and last, that I wish it’d make a little more use of her non-mythological rogues and supporting cast.

    1. Brendan Post author


      I had never read a comic with Wonder Woman in it before this, so I have nothing to compare to! Do you have a link to an example of the costume you prefer? I really like how it was designed for the New 52; it looks both classy and still like a superhero outfit.

      Regarding the non-mythological rogues, I’d worry that that would shift the tone back toward superhero, which is maybe closer to the original, but I really enjoy the current approach.

  3. LS

    Wonder Woman is the only comic book I buy month-to-month. It really is great, I’d love to see them base a new WW DCAU movie off of some of these storylines.

    1. Brendan Post author


      Yeah, I’m still on the fence regarding picking it up month to month. It would kind of both me (because I’m silly this way) to have the first 18 issues in collections, and the rest as singles, even if they are all digital. But I also don’t want to wait.

      Have you seen the actress they chose for Wonder Woman in the upcoming Batfleck/Superman movie? Unfortunately, she doesn’t really look the part to me. But yes, this storyline would be excellent as a few movies or big budget HBO production.

      1. LS

        I have seen her, and you’re right, she doesn’t really look the part. I think there’s a severe lack of people who really know what to do with Wonder Woman as a character, and none of those people are making Hollywood movies.

        (It’s actually not too hard I think. Take Leonidas from 300, give him super powers, and swap his gender.)

        I don’t know if you’re aware, but there’s actually a fairly large (and growing) collection of animated films based on various DC comics. They put out a few a year, and most of them have been phenomenal. They recently turned the event which caused the New 52 (The Flashpoint Paradox) into a movie. It would be great if they made a New 52 Wonder Woman movie within the next year or two.

  4. Cody C.

    I read the first few issues of this series, but ended up dropping it because it wasn’t really my cup of tea. I really didn’t like the change to her backstory (especially since its basically Cassie Sandmark/Wonder Girl’s backstory) and something about the portrayal of Wonder Woman just seemed off to me.

    However, I understand why people like the book. Azzarello is a good writer and the artwork is great. Its definitely one of the better books of the New 52 and I’m glad it hasn’t been ruined like the other New 52 titles that used to be good. It just didn’t click with me is all.

      1. Cody C.

        As do I. I particularly miss Gail Simone’s run on the books. I felt like she had a good grasp on who Diana is as a character and I’ve always enjoyed Simone’s writing (with the occasional exception here and there).

Leave a Reply