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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Wonder Woman: Eyes of the Gorgon

Writer: Greg Rucka
Penciller: Drew Johnson, James Raiz, Sean Philips
Colourist: Ray Snyder, Sean Philips
Inker: Richard and Tanya Horie
Letterer: Todd Klein
Publisher: DC Comics 

What's it about?
It's a book based heavily on Greek myth and legend.  Previously, the Gorgon sisters Stheno and Euryale coerced the sorcerer Circe into resurrecting their third sister, the monstrous Medusa.  Once revived, Medusa is burning with the thirst for revenge on Athena, responsible for cursing her.  The sisters decide the best to do this is to slaughter Wonder Woman, Athena's champion on Earth.  Of course, a lot of time has passed since they last walked the earth so the plan does not go smoothly.

Woven in and around the main plot are intrigues and plotting of a higher nature, as Athena stirs up rebellion among the Gods of Olympus.

Like the best Greek stories, this is a book of heroism, honour, sacrifice, love and tragedy. 

What's good about it?
It's an excellent portrayal of Wonder Woman.  This particular volume falls right in the middle of Greg Rucka's run on the series and by this point he is really shining.  He has a great feel for Diana, her motivations and her history.  Where many writers manage to completely mangle the idea of Wonder Woman, Rucka handles her with grace and respect.

There are a few scenes of cultural clashes between the Amazons and Man's world, these are written with a  biting sense of realism (in the best sense) and serve to further draw the reader into Wonder Woman's world.
Medusa is full of rage and bile, Stheno is annoying and Euryale ambitious.  These three ancient characters are brought to life and humanised in a way that I had not expected nor encountered before.   The ties to ancient Greece are strong throughout the book.  Wonder Woman lives and works in a Themyscirian embassy, her clothes are based on Greek designs and her battle armour (pleated leather skirt, shield, axe, straps to the bustier!) has an old warrior feel to it.  She has a minotaur for a chef!  He's called Ferdinand.
This book has an introduction which brings the reader up to date with what has gone before and helps new readers start the Wonder Woman story from this book. 

What's bad about it?
I think this book is a right rollicking good read and the strongest one in this particular series of Wonder Woman.  The cover is rather unrestrained with the size of Diana's breasts, but inside the book her clothes and anatomy are more fitted to her role. 

What's the art like?
As you can see from the scans the colours are quite muted and not as bright as more modern comics.  I'm not sure if this is due to the type of ink used, the age of my copy or something else.

The cover art (back cover below), while quite lovely, is very different in style from the art inside the book.  The art inside is less textured and so maybe a little less affecting in emotion.  It is a good example of cartooning.  of course, the best scenes are the action ones, the fights at the end in which Wonder Woman is drafted to serve as Athena's champion again.  But even before this, there's plenty to keep the reader interested, whether it's the modern interpretation of the Gods or just day to day scenes.
That's Athena, Hekate and Aphrodite above.  Below is Ares.

Other information
Price: £12.35
ISBN: 1401207979
So what next?  Well to discover Greg Rucka's series you should read the following:

Down to Earth
Bitter Rivals
Eyes of the Gorgon
Land of the Dead
Mission's End
To read more of the Greek myth aspect try The Hikiteia and to discover the origins of Diana read Gods and Mortals.

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