DC Comics
Wonder Woman #0 Review
By Zak Edwards
September 21, 2012 - 14:58

Writer(s): Brian Azzarello
Penciller(s): Cliff Chiang
Colourist(s): Matthew Wilson
Letterer(s): Jared K. Fletcher
Cover Artist(s): Cliff Chiang
$2.99 US



While Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman has its detractors, some of whom are right here at The Bin, I am not one of them.  I have thoroughly enjoyed his run all the way through and up to and including this #0 issue which, despite an obvious break from the main storyline, tells its story in quite a different form.

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It seems Azzarello has taken the #0 a little closer to heart than others.  Rather than simply tell a story taking place before his first issue, the story itself reads like something earlier, complete with plenty of exclamation points, abundance of dialogue and narration, and melodrama.  But Azzarello isn’t just trying to be sort of nostalgic and cheeky, he ties Wonder Woman’s development into the narrative itself, using the techniques of comics gone by to talk about the story he’s writing.  Princess Diana’s internal monologue feels separate from the character we are presented with now, and Azzarello points to a couple of moments and themes in her development as a character.  In particular, her internal monologue, overly dramatic and juvenile like the person she was, shows a character unsure and separate from the community she may one day lead.  The myth of her birth has made her an outcast rather than an exceptional character and Azzarello’s use of old-school narrating techniques shows a young Diana’s struggles.  It works wonderfully well even if the issue doesn’t really address what has happened in the series thus far.  Azzarello’s additional moments, like saying the issue is a reprint of “All-Girl Adventure Tales for Men #41” is a pretty sly suggestion about not only the old Wonder Woman comics, but also the place of women protagonists in comics in general.  As DC has gotten heavily criticized for its extremely problematic use of sex and violence in the New DCU, Azzarello’s own work has been fairly self-conscious of this easy grab of ‘big boobs in leather’ approach to comic storytelling.  As with the rest of the series, there is something bigger going on here more than just the large secrets the book holds anyways.  Azzarello’s particular style has made this book a bit more of that dark ‘realism’ that is used too widely in comics, but I think this book in particular has something to say using those tropes.

Artist Cliff Chiang has a great style in the book regularly that he’s adapted to this special issue.  He doesn’t change too much, but his stylistic choices are nostalgic in themselves.  The book is full of tightly packed panels with too much dialogue or narration (on purpose and deftly held by Jared Fletcher), a little clunky but still engaging.  Chiang has really grabbed onto the best that this older style has to offer in storytelling and proven that books can still read well without giant two-page spreads all over.  In fact, the only spread in the book apart from the first page is a dedication to Joe Kubert, who recently passed away and deserves some reverence.  Chiang’s style picks and chooses what to use and what to update, Matt Wilson’s colouring in particular demonstrates this by using a differing colour palette while remaining more contemporary in approach, and the whole artistic experience is as wonderful as the story it tells.  This is a great example of what a #0 issue wants to accomplish.

Grade: 9/10    Past and present mash together for a great read in an already great series.


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