Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I Sure Hope This Is Going Somewhere . . . Wonder Woman - Volume 3: Iron Does Not Get There!

The Good: Good initial artwork, Plot moves along
The Bad: Plot heavy, No real character development, No sense of resolution
The Basics: Wonder Woman - Volume 3: Iron continues an unfortunate tradition in The New 52 incarnation of Wonder Woman, which is to minimize the heroine and focus on the machinations of the gods to move the plot forward.

Hype is a powerful tool. The power hype has to get people to spend their hard-earned dollars is an impressive force, but too often it is used on products that do not support the words used to sell the product. The words that grace the covers of Wonder Woman - Volume 3: Iron make one think the book is going to be a fabulous story about Wonder Woman, but nothing could be further from the truth. Wonder Woman - Volume 3: Iron is largely about the movements of various gods in the DC Comics Universe while Wonder Woman stumbles along looking for a stolen baby.

The difference between the hype and the facts of Wonder Woman - Volume 3: Iron are simple. Wonder Woman - Volume 3: Iron is not a character-driven story, it is not populated by interesting supporting characters, and it is not even a consistently rendered book. Instead, the volume – which compiles issues #0 and #13 through 18 – is plot-centered, overrun by thinly conceived and executed characters and starts with the best artwork of the series and degenerates as the book goes on. For those who love the strength and cunning of Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman - Volume 3: Iron is a huge disappointment; Princess Diana Of Themyscira is told where to go and confronts her siblings in order to locate the baby kidnapped in Wonder Woman – Volume 2: Guts (reviewed here!).

After a flashback storyline that has the ten year-old Diana on Themyscira being bullied by one of her Amazon sisters, Diana is mentored by War (in every other incarnation of Wonder Woman, the villainous god Ares). War teleports Diana to an island where she defeats a minotaur. When War pressures her to kill her defeated foe, Diana resists his influence and War decides to spare her life.

Back in the present storyline, Diana and her half-brother, the demigod Lennox, return to the safehouse where they have Zola and the now-mortal Hera holed up. Zola points out that Hera’s rage at her makes no sense as she did not cheat on Hera; Zeus did. While an ancient god is unearthed in the Antarctic and takes on the minions of Hades and Poseidon, Diana finds her half-sister, Siracca, in the desert and her half-brother, Milan (who is an oracle). In meeting Milan, Diana is teamed up with the New God Orion, who is on a mission to save the universe by killing the baby Diana is searching for. Learning that Zola’s baby from Zeus is hidden with Demeter (Harvest), War and Diana take on Hermes to try to rescue the child.

Wonder Woman - Volume 3: Iron is not motivated by actions that Diana takes and the volume is notably devoid of Wonder Woman using any clever techniques or skills of her own. Author Brian Azzarello trades in using Wonder Woman’s lasso for a new set of gauntlets that deliver her swords to her hands. Diana does not grow or develop. Instead, she meets some of her suddenly new family and goes where they eventually tell her to go. The book is one big wander around the world building to . . . the obvious resolution for this volume.

Throughout the book, there is a thread of the next menace that Diana will face, but it is not resolved at all in the volume. Instead of having a tight or compelling story, Wonder Woman - Volume 3: Iron too frequently loses focus, bouncing from one lackluster unresolved plot thread to the next. Writer Brian Azzarello does not have any incredible lines and the book is markedly lacking in compelling or well-defined themes. Instead, the monolithic supporting characters direct an unfortunately brutish (save a single, important, hug) protagonist to a dull conclusion that leaves the reader hoping the next volume will be better and sold more on substance than hype.

For other Wonder Woman volumes, 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
Destiny Calling By George Perez
The Contest By William Messner-Loebs
The Challenge Of Artemis By William Messner-Loebs
Second Genesis By John Byrne
Wonder Woman: Lifelines By John Byrne
Paradise Lost By Phil Jimenez
Paradise Found By Phil Jimenez
Down To Earth By Greg Rucka
Eyes Of The Gorgon By Greg Rucka
Land Of The Dead By Greg Rucka
Mission's End By Greg Rucka
The Hiketeia


For other graphic novel reviews, please check out my Graphic Novel Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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