Azzarello’s Wonder Woman (2011-2014)

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Azzarello’s Wonder Woman is the first singular run I’ve read of the character, despite seeing her almost everywhere over the years due to her appearances in all the DC team and crossover books. Given that this has been hailed as the best and most definitive run of her character (in recent years), I thought it was a bit bland and underwhelming.

While the action is great and most of the fights really work quite well, the slower bits, aka the character moments, appear completely out of the blue, if they happen at all. This would be no problem if the run was entirely focused on the action, but from time to time the story expects the reader to empathize with certain characters, which does not work at all because the characterization here is so limited or non-existent.

The worst example is of the human stand-in character, whom the series at the end upholds as a shining example of humanity, which feels kind of odd as all she does during the series is acting as a cup-holder for her demi-god baby and always managing to stumble from one idiotic escape to another. Wonder Woman and some of the other demi-gods are written as if they care about the stand-in, but most of the time they just handle guard-duty and that’s it.

Not that the gods, demi-gods and other mystic creatures are better written, but at least they are more or less active agents with well-defined character types. The human stand-in aka the baby-holder is nothing of the sort. Which makes the ending, which goes for emotional resonance, fall completely flat on its face.

The rest of the run is just as average. The overall plot progression is that Wonder Woman in turns fights with each of the various Greek gods, invites them into her small group and then gets betrayed by them and so on. After a certain points this becomes so formulaic that you stop keeping track of who is the current enemy, current friend, etc.

The ending is another thing you’ve probably figured out halfway into the run. The biggest threat is, while visually imposing, just another boring evil guy with large daddy issues (or parenting issues, take your pick). All this sounds rather disappointing, but it’s more a case of failed expectations. It’s a solid but unremarkable run, and if that’s the best Wonder Woman has gotten in years, I dread to read any of her other runs.

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