Comic books are very tricky things these days. It was never easy to make one but it's gotten harder since the advent of the tpb market. Writers have it most difficult because they have to write for both a monthly audience and a bi-annual one. While Jim and Thomm still read the single issues, I freely admit that I am a trade waiter. Because of that, I see books very differently from them.
This week, I offer a review of two books by Brian Azzarello Wonder Woman Vol 1: Blood and First Wave.
Well, this was certainly a mixed bag. The art was very good but the story was very up and down. As I expected Cliff Chang, artist on issues 1-4, was solid throughout. Tony Akins kept the stylistic look of the book and except of a couple of storytelling problems was very good too. Akins in particular shined with his page composition making for interesting visuals and page layouts.
Unfortunately the story left me cold. There were minor annoyances like WW’s new costume, (arm bands and a choker, really?), Hera always being naked (why?) and doing away with her ‘made from clay’ origin (eliminating the thing which made her unique). There were some great ideas such as the various children of Zeus. But, Azzarello managed to make it all seem… pedestrian? WW is on a mission to save the latest woman whom Zeus loved from Hera. And, she has the personality of a stone. Seriously, she could have been a crown, or sword, or some mythical treasure for the amount of personality she had. Azz reduced her to a plot device. The same could be said of Strife WWs sister; nothing more than a plot device. There are several points when the voices sounded like they belonged to characters from 100 Bullets instead of a Wonder Woman book
If I was reading this monthly maybe I wouldn’t have noticed the faults. Then again, maybe I wouldn’t have made it six issues either.
This was one of DCs attempts to try something different by creating a pulp-inspired universe involving a team-up of Doc Savage, Eisner’s The Spirit, and Batman. The story is basically a James Bond tale with a couple of masked guys.
Unlike WW in which the characters never get defined, in First Wave Azz’s story is pedestrian. It was fine but nothing special. My main problem with this book is the art.
In the first two issues, Rags turns in some of the dullest art I have ever seen. Don't get me wrong, the figure work was impeccable. There were all sorts of panels that were awesome to look at. But, in the first two issues, Each story was over 20 pages of 3 horizontal panels. The exact same layout over and over and over again. It was so dull I wanted to stop reading. On top of a mediocre story and it was painful. By the time Rags got his act together and started creating exciting pages I was done. I made it to the end but I wasn’t excited that I got there.
I am starting to wonder if Azz just isn't meant to write Superheroes. Jim mentioned that his Superman was ok. His WW is just ok. But his 100 Bullets was incredible. From now on, I'm just going to stick to his non-capes stuff.