Firstly, a little circumspection. It’s easy to view comics in isolation, particularly when you’re only interested in one series, so I should probably mention here that Wonder Woman #1 was one of the best of the “New 52” that DC produced last month. Having waded through the first issues of Batwoman, Catwoman, Supergirl, Batman, Justice League, Justice League Dark, Men of War, Superman and Action Comics, I’d say Wonder Woman #1 was probably the best of the lot, a clean story without endless amounts of continuity bogging it down, almost nothing that could be construed as sexually exploitative and while not going too far in explaining itself, did at least make the concession to potential newcomers that this might be their first issue so didn’t assume much of the readers in terms of backstory.
I still have reservations about it: Wonder Woman was a little underpowered and there’s no trace of Diana’s internal monologue, which has been in the comics since the days of Perez and possibly even before. I’m not so keen on the (literal) dehumanising of the gods and the loss of “the pants” I think is a step backwards. With Chiang and Azzarello coming from a background in Vertigo, DC’s adult/horror imprint, it was perhaps more adult and gory than the comic has been of late and – how shall I put this? – it was quite a macho/masculine take on Wonder Woman.
But on the whole, it was a great start to the run. Let’s face it: when Gail Simone was writing it not so long ago, it sunk to about number 89 in the charts. I have no idea where it was when JMS was writing it this past year or so, but I suspect lower. But Wonder Woman #1 was actually 13th in the charts last month and sold over 100,000 copies. So it’s certainly doing something right.
Now, though, we’re onto issue #2 and we’re launching into the story proper. Can Azzarello and Chiang add flesh to the pared-down, bare bones of #1 to keep us reading?