By: Brian Azzarello (writer), Tony Akins (artist), Dan Green (inker), Matthew Wilson (colorist)
The Story: Actually, Wife Sharing With the Gods may be the one reality show I would watch.
The Review: If any of you have ever read Azzarello’s 100 Bullets (and if you haven’t, it might be a very good idea to start), you know his extraordinary talent for building conspiracies, stories rife with intrigue and tension. In short, he’s the dream pulp writer, and indeed, his bibliography seems to speak to that; he spearheaded DC’s short-lived First Wave series, and his Batman: Knight of Vengeance mini for Flashpoint dripped suspense in every issue.
So on paper, having him write a character so grounded in myth and legendarium seems like a bit of an odd mix. But you have to consider the mythic figures we’re dealing with here. The Greek pantheon, with all its affairs, betrayals, and toxic relationships, can probably be considered one of the original mafia families. Though they may stand as one against their mutual enemies, the vast majority of their conflicts comes from within, and is often more bitter.
What sets them apart from the typical cast of Sopranos is the scope of their squabbles. In this case, the very heavens are at stake now that Zeus has vanished into the ether, and none other than his older brothers want a piece of it for themselves—although frankly, they’d prefer the whole shebang. Before we can see them duke out the question, however, Wonder Woman and Lennox pipe up with their own suggestions for power-sharing, one that definitely puts Hera on the losing end, no matter which of the brothers gets the best deal.
As it turns out, the whole thing is a ruse, a distraction allowing Diana the opportunity to strike back at Hera in a big way for all her mother-in-law has done. Our favorite Amazon has proven over the past few issues that she doesn’t give a fig what the gods get up to; she has her own goals and morals, and she forges her own path. While she doesn’t really need her new status as a divinity to do as she sees right, she asserts her semi-goddess status very convincingly, setting her kin against each other, spitting in their eyes, and reaching her goals at the same time.
Azzarello continues to excel in his interpretation of the Olympians, particularly since he has three of the originals all on the same page in this issue. His characterizations are uncannily faithful yet fresh; he stays true to their traditional depictions, but gives them a modern sophistication, making them much more accessible. Poseidon, like the sea, vacillates between belligerence and heartiness. Despite his childish appearance, Hades has the least sense of humor, and he seems much more vindictive than his legendary portrayals. Hera continues to act quite shrewish, yet she’s more inclined to throw her royal weight around than she does in ancient tales.
Akins is a mixed bag as an artist. Maybe we’ve been spoiled by Cliff Chiang’s elegant, classy style for too long, but Akins can’t really seem to capture that tone. His style seems much more attuned to the gritty side of things, which might explain why he works as well with Azzarello’s script as he does. But it’s just inescapable that at many points, he doesn’t seem entirely comfortable with traditional superheroics. He’s of the school of artists who draws blood much the way he would jam, and there’s a noticeable inconsistency to his figures and clumsiness to his action which quickly gets distracting.
Conclusion: The series, of course, has a lot of integrity, but you can’t help feeling that we’re only still just building up to the real big moments. Besides, the art isn’t quite up to its usual par.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: – If you think about it, Hera definitely has good reason to despise Diana now. The princess’ suggestion to Poseidon and Hades is pretty outrageous, considering Hera’s their sister.
– Both Hades and Hermes turn and answer when Lennox mutters, rhetorically, “God a’mighty…” Awkward…