Wonder Woman: Blood – Brian Azzarello

This is what they call a turn up for the books. A mature and sophisticated story without any spandex.

Although it features Wonder Woman, and she is our primary guide through the narrative, a single lassoing and bracer parry doesn’t make it feel like she is indispensible. It is more about the machinations of the Greek gods – whom it turns out Diana has more of a relationship with than you thought – and notably Zeus’ rampant promiscuity. Poseidon, Hades, and all your favourites from Clash of the Titans are here but you don’t need a major in the classics to eventually work out who is who.

The whole thing feels, and also looks, very Sandman; from its immortal characters and literary references to its particular art style. The Greeks certainly knew how to spin a good yarn and using established myths to craft a tale with modern resonance all about family is sheer genius. There aren’t many laughs but they appear where appropriate. Drama is king here.

There isn’t too much characterisation or lengthy exposition. You begin in medias res and the whirlwind of people you meet usually appear cryptic or reserved. This gives a great feeling of ‘trust no one’ as there is both a child’s life and the throne of heaven at stake. There is a human character for us to latch on to who, despite being the maguffin that drives the plot along, is a genuinely likeable, witty person that we can easily take a shine to.

This being an origin story and part of a reboot we do have bases to cover so there is skipping between heaven, earth and the secret Amazon homeland along with dramatic revelations and re-revelations about back-story. The Wonder Woman here feels nothing like the Diana of JLA and there is certainly no mention of Captain Trevor.

The art is great and much looser and more abstract than most clean lined superhero books. The colouring is out of this world and the lighting of each scene, and the mood that creates, is epically cinematic. Each location and time of day feels distinct and great use is made of twilight and rain. There is an incredible transition between pure blue and pure red panels that you could frame and hang on your wall. Most of the earthbound locations are in London and if you can forgive the stereotypical accents it’s nice to see Tower Bridge and the Thames make an appearance.

This is really good storytelling. It has universal and poignant themes, an emotional heart, and isn’t dumbed down. It benefits a second read and it really seduces your eyes. It’s not a traditional superhero story and is unexpectedly broader than just a Wonder Woman story but doesn’t disappoint.

The hardcover edition has a sturdy matt black cover under the dust jacket with plain embossing on the front and spine. There is the original concept art for many of the characters. Each of the issue covers also features the original black and white proof too.

Double Thumbs Up!

193/172.

Tomorrow: Catwoman: The Game – Judd Winick

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