‘Wonder’ No. 1 obscured by darknessWritten by Jim Beard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Reading DC Comics’ new Wonder Woman No. 1 is a little like falling on a sword; you go into it with thoughts of honor and dignity, but simply end up being skewered. The book is the proposed herald for a new era of the Amazing Amazon’s adventures, intended to bolster her ailing status as a top player in the DC Universe. But this inaugural issue downplays the character and obscures her in dark, murky, overly graphic goings-on.
You have to extend DC some sympathy every time it attempts to relaunch Wonder Woman. She’s a 70-year-old-plus property with deeply ingrained facets that more often than not work against her, which makes it difficult for the company to sell her to audiences. Writer Brian Azzarello has said that he considers this new Wonder Woman title to be a horror book, which, you must admit, qualifies as a path not usually taken by the character. But, as witnessed in this first issue, it’s a take that doesn’t seem to jibe with her. Azzarello’s narrative is swampy and scattershot and mired in pretension; one isn’t sure who’s doing what, who’s speaking at any given moment and what exactly is going on. Yes, in serial fiction answers shouldn’t be doled out too early, but there’s a difference between laying down tantalizing mysteries to hook your readers and being obtuse just for the sake of being obtuse. Sadly, Wonder Woman No. 1 falls into the latter category.
The book’s true weakness lies in the fact that its titular heroine just isn’t in it very much and, when she is, isn’t very interesting. This is a legendary warrior princess sporting fantastic, magical armament — too bad the writer seems to have a disdain for such uniqueness. A first issue of any ongoing serial should grab you from the outset and tell you why you should follow its star. Wonder Woman No. 1 and its generic Diana fail miserably at that.
Heck, even the aborted “Wonder Woman” TV pilot, with Toledo’s Adrianne Palicki, had more going for it than this lackluster offering. This is one fading star who just can’t seem to catch a break or rise to the occasion when she does.