Wonder Woman #16

by BradBabendir on January 25, 2013

I have a weird relationship with Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman. Every month, I pick it up and every month, I enjoy it, but I’ll be honest and say that I never feel a particular level of excitement to read it. It’s good and I’m always entertained, but it lacks something, for me at least, and though I’m not sure what it is, and I might not even be able to pick it out of a line-up, it always leaves Wonder Woman at the bottom of my stack of new comics.

So, given the peculiar nature of my stance on the book, I’ve spent a bit of time struggling with exactly how I want to approach it. I’ll say, upfront, that this review is going to be much more about me, musing on the series as a whole than it will be about this specific issue. This being because I’m a rogue, college student who doesn’t follow rules.

I think my first issue is with the general structure of the story. Azzarello tends to take me all over the place, and in the case of Issue #16, about equal time is spent in three places, and though it is certainly a technique that can be done well, it isn’t necessarily the case with Wonder Woman. The transition points often feel pretty arbitrary, and it’s jarring to be thrown around like this so frequently.

But there’s also brilliance, like towards the middle of this book, where Milan, in an effort to help out his sister, removes the bandana that had been covering his empty eye sockets, and then literally sees everything. The paneling gorgeous, the art wonderful and there are only five words on the page, perfectly spaced and placed. It’s followed by another page with similar paneling and a very well-done reveal.

But, then again, there are more things that bother me about this book. I think my biggest complaint bases mostly around the fact the single issues, for me, don’t stand-up on their own. And that’s part of what’s so tough on me right now. I’m tasked to review Wonder Woman #16, not the series as a whole, and though part of that grade is about how well it fits into the greater piece as a whole, it also needs to have the strength to stand on its own two feet, and frankly, the Wonder Woman issues don’t. They’re so heavily interconnected, which is not a bad thing, inherently, but it is the way that the issues are, and it’s a choice that the creative team made that has benefits and drawbacks.

However, the art is fantastic, and arguably worth a buy all on its own. It’s gritty, but polished. It’s distinct and it’s vibrant. The colors aren’t realistic in a literal sense, but that’s not the primary task of artwork. It tells a powerful story and compliments the writing in a way that is often remarkable.

So, all of that is great (or it’s not great, depending on which paragraph), but how do I feel about this particular issue? Despite the brilliant panel work and the effective dive to depth, it’s ultimately bogged down by trying to do too much in too little time, and it falters. Maybe Wonder Woman needs two books (like Fantastic Four and FF in Marvel NOW!) or maybe it’s something else, but, though I enjoy it, it’s not where it should be.

Our Score:


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