We're looking at two remade worlds here. Wonder Woman, herself remade and her history rewritten. Age Of X, the cast recreated and a world redone. And everyone's got a new costume.
Wonder Woman continues the Joe Michael Straczynski reboot with Phil Hester co-writing, Eduardo Pansica pencilling and the cast of Glee inking. In the last few weeks, my eldest daughter has had a sudden rush in interest around superheroes and Wonder Woman is central to this. Yesterday I bought a stack of reduced price copies of Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four for her, but there's probably a bit too much blood in this for her. The book seems soaked in it, pitting Diana against a Pan-like centaur with antlers that rip people apart. with And Wonder Woman continues her transformation into the Wolverine of DC Comics. We continue the stories with mythological creatures appearing larger than life and clashing with mundanity. And the art really sells this, lots of forced perspectives and low angle shots to emphasise the strangeness here.
We left last issue with a major impalement and that keeps up through the comic. Even for Wonder Woman, having a spiked pole through you is not going to keep your new costume looking its best. We also have a little of modern weaponry used against mythology which reminds me of Skullkickers and Fables, but in the end we revert to the idea of creating your own nemesis, being the object of your own destruction. I'd be interested to see what cover label this book gets, when they roll out. And I still wish DC would publish a kid-aimed Wonder Woman.
But this is a very different character, trying to find her way to her old self, whoever it was.
Age Of X has a different agenda, with characters moving away from who they are in the more familiar Marvel Universe. It abandons any relation to the real world at all, creating a new post-mutant apocalypse, with a Chris Bachalo cover that takes me right back to the original Age Of Apocalypse. And structurally this is very different, a series of different stories told in flashback to address exactly how we got here.
The reinvention of Cyclops as Basilisk is of central here, used as some kind of capital punishment machine by a government-entrenched Arcade might turn anyone a bit nutty. And make this Scott Summers a very man different in the process. And Carlo Barberi and Walden Wong are channelling a little Bill Sienkiewicz in the telling, which is always nice.
But generally we are shown a harsher, more maverick world, without an X-Men for mutants to band together, making their ways as individuals across America against a population and government taht not only hates them, but is actually doing something about it. References to ethnic cleansing and mass graves aren;t exactly subtle, but this is not a subtle comic.
Mind you, there's one nice thing here from writer Mike Carey. He writes about mutantkind kept down by the "human coalition". In the UK, we recently ended up electing a right-of-centre coalition government that seems to be dragging the centre as far right as it can. I doubt the reference is unintentional…
Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics of London.