Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Is Wonder Woman: Eyes Of The Gorgon The Best Wonder Woman Story Ever? Probably!

The Good: Wonderful character development, Very cool story, Most of the artwork
The Bad: Some of the artwork does not stand up comparatively.
The Basics: The start of an inarguably essential arc for Wonder Woman finds Princess Diana fighting the Medousa in Wonder Woman: Eyes Of The Gorgon!

Greg Rucka might well have had one of the very best runs as an author for Wonder Woman. Despite us being at the end of my Daredevil Year, my local library has finally gotten me in some of the last volumes of Wonder Woman that I missed last year when it was my Wonder Woman Year. Today, I am very excited to have been able to read Wonder Woman: Eyes Of The Gorgon and I must digress for a moment to discuss part of the process behind my reviewing. For graphic novels, I usually get the books in from my local library. There are actually very few graphic novels I own in my extensive library of actual books. I have been reading most of the Wonder Woman books and enjoying them, but I have not added any to my permanent library.

If DC Comics ever publishes a hardcover omnibus of Wonder Woman: Eyes Of The Gorgon and Wonder Woman: Land Of The Dead, I will undoubtedly add it to my permanent library.

Wonder Woman: Eyes Of The Gorgon has everything for any reader to love about Wonder Woman. While I applaud J. Michael Stracsynski’s “alternate universe” Wonder Woman run (“Odyssey”), for a story that illustrates the complexity, power and coolness of the Wonder Woman character, Wonder Woman: Eyes Of The Gorgon is the way to go. In fact, my wife constantly berates my appreciation of the Wonder Woman books because she thinks I only read them for the costume and the idealized version of woman that Diana represents. Not so and Wonder Woman: Eyes Of The Gorgon is an exceptional illustration of that.

In Wonder Woman: Eyes Of The Gorgon, Ambassador Diana is articulate, liberal, smart and compassionate. For sure, she looks great in her one-piece superheroine costume, but more than anything else, she is cool and wise. The book isn’t about a woman who models, it is about a liberal politician looking to save the world. The fact that she kicks some serious ass and looks great doing that is almost incidental. And equally as wonderful in Wonder Woman: Eyes Of The Gorgon is the fact that other characters might treat Diana as a pawn in their own machinations, but Diana is strong enough and internally motivated to choose her own direction.

Having rescued her friend from the mechanical nightmare of being the Silver Swan, Diana is called to Washington, D.C. to meet the President of the United States. As Circe plots revenge upon Diana and the Themyscirans for perceived wrongs against her, Diana, Artemis and Phillipus make the trek from New York to Washington. As the Athena prepares to shake things up on Olympus, Circe reveals her plan. She wants to use the resurrected Medousa to kill Diana and lay waste to much of the human world. When Medousa attacks the White House while Diana is there, the demi-godess saves her own life by challenging Diana to combat and invoking Ares as referee. Drawn in to the conflict, Diana prepares for battle while mourning the death of one of the Embassy’s children, who was turned to stone when Medousa attacked.

Forced onto the field at Yankee Stadium by her sense of honor and desire to save the world, Diana engages Medousa in battle. Circe’s hope is that the Medousa will win and when that happens, she will turn her gaze on the television cameras and the millions of people watching the televised fight will be turned to stone. Diana, however, is clever and when Medousa has her near defeat, to eliminate Medousa’s advantage, Diana blinds herself. Upon winning, Diana remains blind and works to continue fighting for justice. After being tested by the Justice League of America, Diana is called upon once more as Athena’s champion to help the goddess take the throne of Olympus!

Wonder Woman: Eyes Of The Gorgon has Diana as an undeniably cool heroine. She is tough, smart and compassionate. The book projects Diana as an exceptionally giving superhero, even after she performs Athena’s chore, she is only thinking of her friend’s fallen son. As a result, there is a sweetness to the character as well. In the portion of the book where the blind Wonder Woman is tested, Wonder Woman: Eyes Of The Gorgon actually lays the framework for the climax of Wonder Woman’s story in Blackest Night!

What ultimately robs Wonder Woman: Eyes Of The Gorgon of perfection is that the artwork is inconsistent and the story is very much not a complete story. While I can appreciate the serialized aspect never truly ending, making it tough to do a complete omnibus edition, this story and the one in Wonder Woman: Land Of The Dead form a tight arc that should have been presented as a single volume.

As for the artwork, most of Wonder Woman: Eyes Of The Gorgon is quite good. Unfortunately, that is not the entire book. Several panels have very simplified drawings that look like an animated version of the character who is otherwise presented as a very three-dimensional figure. Even so, most of the artwork in Wonder Woman: Eyes Of The Gorgon is truly exceptional and brings Greg Rucka’s story to life.

If you’ve never read a Wonder Woman graphic novel, Wonder Woman: Eyes Of The Gorgon is a fine starting place and a worthwile graphic novel in its own right!

For other Wonder Woman volumes in this incarnation of the Amazon Princess, please check out my reviews of:
Gods And Mortals by George Perez
Wonder Woman: Challenge Of The Gods by George Perez
Beauty And The Beasts By George Perez
The Contest By William Messner-Loebs
Wonder Woman: Lifelines By John Byrne
Paradise Lost By Phil Jimenez
Down To Earth By Greg Rucka
Land Of The Dead By Greg Rucka
Mission's End By Greg Rucka
The Hiketeia


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

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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