cyclonus_the_warrior's Wonder Woman: Guts #1 - Vol. 2 review

I liked this one a lot more than last volume.

Diana aka Wonder Woman met a young girl named Zola who was impregnated by the god Zeus, this enraged Zeus' wife Hera to the point where she tried to end Zola's life and is still trying hard to. Diana attempted to manipulate Zeus' brothers Poseidon and Hades into capturing his vacant throne since disappearing. Things do not play out according to Diana's strategy due to Hade's actions. -summary

Wonder Woman is definitely among the titles in the New 52 that actually does feel like a necessary reboot. The direction DC has taken for the character with the constant changes to her origin, that has caused quite a bit of negative feedback from long time fans would have never flown in previous continuity; it needed this complete reboot. While many people have been quite furious with the changes, I turned a blind eye to them because I don't mind changes unless they're done right. The changes here are done well for the most part, but writer Brian Azzarello should have maybe focused on building the character from the ground up, because some things are becoming quite difficult to buy into. This TPB collects Wonder Woman issues 7 - 12.

The plot picks up right after the previous volume, with Diana seeking some help to invade Hade's realm. While Poseidon felt humored being played by Diana, Hade's took it very personally and decided at the last minute to kidnap Zola taking her to his realm. Diana eventually finds help, and together with Hermes she enters hell. Meanwhile, Zeus is still missing for unknown reasons; his wife still wants vengeance for women sleeping with him, plus one of his sons, Apollo, wants to rule Olympus.

I wasn't too crazy about the first volume due to so much focus on Wonder Woman's world and different characters. She felt like a guest star in her own story and I just wasn't feeling it. The case is still the same with this volume from start to finish. However, I really like this volume after the recent re-read. One of the reasons is because Azzarello makes her world so damn awesome this time. Diana's descent into the underworld is so well done and is by far the best portrayal in comics of what Hell could look like. The level of imagination is just so on point and the narrative works well in roping the reader in. The many characters introduced such as Apollo, Artemis, and Hephaestus, have their own interesting appeal to them.

The plot overall is rather simple, but Azzarello makes up for it in numerous ways. One area is definitely in Diana's development and her new, very complicated family ties. It was revealed in part of her new origin that she wasn't made from clay, in fact, she is also a bastard child of Zeus and Hera hates her too. Although Diana wasn't the least bit pleased with the news, to her chagrin, her new relatives are constantly reminding her that she will fit in well with her new family due to her deceiving tactics, since they're always cutting each others throats in some way. This definitely adds another dimension to her character, and she already has far more depth to her character than the brawny brute Geoff Johns has portrayed her as in Justice League. Azzarello doesn't only work very well with the dysfunctional family theme, but also how these gods think so highly of themselves.

Something I noticed and I like a great deal is how distant this title feels from the normal superhero world. The dark side of Greek mythology is used very well with the setting; once again it feels as if Superman and Batman don't even exist in this world of lost souls and Greek gods. Wonder Woman's world is the perfect form of escapism and everyone feels right at home. There's only one problem I have with this run; Azzarello really needs to address Diana's back-story. There's a portion of her origin concerning her amazon sisters that is not only quite disturbing, but casts them into a totally different light. I won't spoil this portion of the back story, I will only say that Diana needs some serious background explaining why her personality is so drastically different from her sisters, because at the moment she is coming off a bit too gullible for someone whom is shown to be quite intelligent, and in some ways it's hard to buy into.

I'm still not too fond of Cliff Chiang's artwork; personally I feel Wonder Woman would have benefited more from the likes of Ivan Reis. He definitely would have better captured the majestic feel of these gods and their world. If you seen what he has done for Aquaman then you'll understand what I mean. Chiang tries too hard to be gritty and dark, while he gets the latter down when necessary, the former feels kind of out of place. Fortunately, the book is still easy on the eyes with some very cool action of Diana taking on Artemis and even Apollo. The backgrounds in Hades world stood out the most to me, with the very souls making up the landscape. It's pretty creepy yet very imaginative. The bold out line character designs are still quite interesting, but there were moments I just couldn't get into the facials. Tony Atkins artwork can be hard to look at here, thankfully it's nothing like Rob Liefields' though where his characters look like they're in constant agonizing pain.

Wonder Woman: Guts is definitely a step in the right direction. There are plenty of interesting plot threads either left opened or introduced. I don't completely believe one needs to read the first volume to get what's going on, but it surely wouldn't hurt either. If you didn't like the first volume at all because you couldn't get over Wonder Woman's new origin, then this book isn't going to change your mind and I doubt the next book will either. However, I highly recommend ignoring previous continuity and just accept that this is something new. Wonder Woman is shaping up to be among the New 52's better runs.

Pros: Some interesting story elements and characters

Cons: Updated origin is going to bother many, serious need of backstory

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