Saturday, March 21, 2009
Wonder Woman: Land of the Dead
I can understand why companies don't put numbers on the spines of their graphic novels, you're less likely to pick up volume 4 than you are volume 1. The problem is only compounded by the constantly changing creative teams. What number do you put on the spine of a book collecting issues 214-217 of Wonder Woman (and an issue of the Flash) when most of the run not only isn't collected, but probably never will be?
At the same time when you do pick up a volume of a creator's continuing story you might end up totally lost, even with recap pages put in to bring you up to speed.
And while this isn't completely the problem here, it is some of it. I know Greg Rucka wrote Wonder Woman for a while, and the two pages (!) recapping what's happened up to this point seem to indicate this is in the later part of his run. After Wonder Woman has set up an embassy in New York, and the gods have fought about a bunch of stuff, and Wonder Woman has blinded herself with venom from a snake so that she can fight (and kill) Medusa on live television. (What?!)
Ok, so first off I have no problem with Wonder Woman killing*, especially killing monsters. It's what characters from Greek/Roman myths and legends did, and she was made by a god, and raised in a society that wasn't exactly that modern. Plus, monsters!
But that was before this comic started, so what actually happens in this one? Well, there's a crossover with the flash, which is kind of eh. It didn't do much for me. Though there's nice use of the lasso of truth. Then we get into a much more interesting (to me) story, Diana journeying to the underworld. Now this is part of Rucka's ongoing story about gods rebelling and revolting and fighting each other and changing position which seems like a pretty solid base for a Wonder Woman comic. Though, to some extent I have to wonder why it took her 2000 years before Athena decided to overthrow Zeus? What were the gods doing all those years?
I find it interesting to contrast the use of these gods with their use in the Marvel Universe, where the Incredible Hercules is probably the best title they have coming out. They use some of the same characters (Ares especially), but in different ways. Even if they are both totally jerks. Actually, this reminds of a scene from, I think, JLA/Avengers when Wonder Woman meets the Marvel Hercules and is suuuuper mad at him for stuff he did to piss off her goddess a long time ago. Hercules is just like "What? Woah, I'm a fun loving, drunken buffoon, I didn't do that shit!" But yeah, good scene.
This has some decent scenes too. Like I said, I enjoy the battle of the gods, and how Rucka was having it evolve in ways that seemed to grow off the ancient myths. What I don't care for is all the modern stuff. Ferdinand the bull is a pretty neat character, but all the other embassy staff are total ciphers in this collection, and I have no reason to care for them or that kid who shows up at the end. Bah! More goding, less humans. Oh well. I guess I'll just have to read more Hercules comics for that.
*Other superheroes? Yes. I was kind of freaked out while reading Essential Spider-Man 5 to see Spider-Man kill an apparently sentient alien in the savage land by leading it into quicksand. He was wearing clothing! And talking a language you didn't understand! And you killed him and felt no regret! No Spider-Man! Bad!