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Monday, 24 December 2012

Rorschach Reviews: Wonder Woman 15

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Rorschach's Journal, December 19th 2012: "A warrior on a quest, a god on a mission. Siblings meet, champions collide and immortals question their mortality...hrrmmm..." Book: Wonder Woman No. 15 New 52

Creative Team: Writer-Brian Azzarello
                         Art-Cliff Chiang
                         Colors-Matthew Wilson
                         Letterer-Jared Fletcher
                         Cover-Cliff Chiang   

Release Date: 19th December 2012

Score: 9/10

Pros:-Brian Azzarello affords to give the supporting characters some brilliant development while also provides the reader with emotional insight on Diana
        -Multiple memorable panels and quotes
        -Emotive and expressive art
        -Humorous yet impact-full banter between Zola and Hera, bring forth classic Wonder Woman theme on feminism
        -Small introduction into New Gods pantheon with Orion arrival

Cons: -Orion's last dialogue feels cringe worthy
          -Not much action

Main Events: Orion arrives on Earth, Hephaestus and Wonder Woman have touching moment regarding Diana's mother, Hephaestus tinkers Wonder Woman's arm bands, Lennox finds brother Milan, Lennox threatened by Orion, Wonder Woman challenges Orion, Zola and Hera have a lighthearted moment regarding a trip around New York, Wonder Woman discovers swords as enhancements on her bracelets, Zeus first born is faced against ice monsters (presumably from his uncle).

Memorable Quote(s): "What did you do?" Wonder Woman asks Hephaestus after he touches her arm bands. "Tinkered. At the end of the day...that's all gods do." Hephaestus retorts.
Memorable Panel(s): Hephaestus and Wonder Woman talk with fleeting mentions of her mother, expressions are pitch perfect
                                   Wonder Woman pulls out swords from her arm bands, enchanted by Hephaestus.

World building has been the base essential of the New 52 Wonder Woman series. Wonder Woman as a comic has not only been about it's lead protagonist, but also the supporting characters she has surrounded herself with. Now Brian Azzarello adds in hints of the arrival of a new pantheon aptly named the New Gods (created by Jack Kirby). The issue plot's the tale of Orion's arrival to New York while Wonder Woman seeks her step-brother Milan to aid her to find her other step-brother stolen by Hermes. 

As mentioned above it's Azzarello's uncanny knack in providing deep characterizations for essentially new supporting characters in the DC universe that draws the reader in. The series has been a goldmine for original characters that can become fan favorites. In this development at times it felt that Wonder Woman was being sidelined, but this issue with Cliff Chiang's emotive art we are able to see the throes within Wonder Woman to keep her despair at bay with the fleeting mention of her mother in a most impact-full scene between her and Hephaestus.

There are memorable scenes that provide the ample characterizations and also give way to some of the long running themes within the Wonder Woman comics: one of which is feminism and the rights of gender equality. This is presented in a hilarious to offsetting and finally tender manner between Zola and Hera: 

'Why do you take such joy from my misery?' Hera 

'Maybe it's because you tried to kill me. A bunch of times' Zola

'You lay down with my husband. What else am I supposed to do?' Hera

'How 'bout kill him' Zola
                                                                                                                   Hera as depicted in Wonder Woman
'What? My husband, the king of gods? I'm his queen...why?' Hera

'Because I didn't cheat on you...he did.' Zola 

It also goes to show that there is quite a lot gods can learn from humanity. The quotes and themes are aptly supported by splendidly drawn panels. Orion's entry into New York is one that is to behold due to Cliff Chiang's offbeat art and basic but scintillating palette of colors with a touch of smooth blending and kitsch design.

 Orion makes his full debut in Wonder Woman 15 on a splash page depicting the credits

It will be a joy to see where Wonder Woman goes onwards from the battle against Orion and also to find out about Zeus's first born and his agenda among the Greek gods. The most anticipated battle awaits in the next issue and questions arise to Orion's involvement as well as whether we will see the full debut of the pantheon of the New Gods. 

The dialogue was a strong point up until the end. Orion's last words stuck with me and not in a good way, they felt pitiful and cringe worthy like B-movie action scenes. As Wonder Woman pulls out swords from her enchanted arm bands, Orion is quick to retort "Swords? The only thing they'll make me beat them out of your hands!!!"

The cover while splendidly done, overturning the usual covers presenting an enemies reflection in the eye for an enemies reflection in one's helmet; is quite misleading. We actually do not get a face-off between Wonder Woman and Orion until the end and the battle is cut off to place emphasis on the mystery son of Zeus. This incorrect promotion seems like DC's bit to get readers lapping up on the issue and then teasing them to come back for Wonder Woman 16. It's a cheap trick and I would rather have liked a small scuffle before the end result was produced in spectacular fashion next issue. Hopefully this anomaly is just the result of Azzarello building and overarching narrative for his run. I give this issue a strong nine out of ten for its emotion filled dialogue and art plus the strengthening of the foundation developed within the supporting characters.     

'Nuff Said

Aneesh Raikundalia 




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