Sunday, November 7, 2010

I'm Glad I Read The Simple-Concept Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, But I Wouldn't Buy It!

The Good: Great artwork, Decent story
The Bad: Very simple, Very short
The Basics: A very simple novella, Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia pits Wonder Woman against Batman when Diana is honor-bound to care for a criminal who supplicates herself to her!

Sometimes, the cover to a book almost completely tells the reader the whole story of what is inside. The boot of Wonder Woman pressing Batman's cowled head down on the cover of Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia tells almost the complete story contained in this ninety-paged graphic "novel."

After eluding the Batman after killing a man in Gotham City, Danielle Wellys arrives in New York City where she approaches Diana at the Themysciran embassy. Danielle performs an ancient Greek ritual, the Hiketeia, which puts her in supplication to Diana and Diana accepts her fealty. The Erinyes (Furies) arrive to enforce the Hiketeia and insure that the supplicated lives up to her half of the arrangement. After a few days of working for Diana, Danielle confesses to her what she did and why. But no sooner has Diana made peace with this than Batman arrives to take Danielle into custody and Wonder Woman must fight him, lest the Erinyes take her life for failing to honor the Hiketeia.

The Hiketeia is fully detailed in the opening pages of Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, with all of the codicils and conditions, including a graphic rendering of what the Erinyes do to those who break their word in this ritual. As a result, the reader knows exactly what will happen if Wonder Woman fails to keep her word and protect Danielle. However, it is also unsurprising how the ultimate resolution will come, as that is described in the full briefing on what a Hiketeia is in the opening.

The Hiketeia suffers from "simple problem, simple solution" syndrome and the book has no character development. From the opening pages, the reader knows that Diana is honor bound to protect Danielle and she will carry out her duty as Wonder Woman in an unflinching manner. Similarly, the reader knows that Batman will seek Danielle and will do anything he can in order to return her to Gotham City and the law. Neither character grows or evolves and Danielle doesn't either, she just explains herself.

The explanation, is actually remarkably well-placed when one considers the amount of visual information the reader gets before she actually makes her backstory explicit. Penciled by J.G. Jones and inked and colored by Wade von Grawbadger and Dave Stewart, The Hiketeia is a beautiful book of comic art. The colors are vibrant and the pages are magazine quality with glossy pages. The sequences have a wonderful sense of movement to them and while Diana spends most of the book in a tank top and jeans, she still looks like a Greek goddess. The Erinyes are appropriately frightening and in the backstory, there is enough graphic quality to suggest that this is intended for more mature readers.

That said, that same demographic is unlikely to want the book for more than two reads. After my second reading, where I picked up all of the visual details and clues the story gave in advance, I found there was no reason for reading it again.

For other Wonder Woman graphic novels, please check out my reviews of:
Wonder Woman: Lifelines
Wonder Woman: Amazonia
Wonder Woman: Ends Of The Earth


For other graphic novel reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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