Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Blood - Tony Aikins, Cliff Chiang, Brian Azzarello When it comes to traditional superhero comic books, such as Batman, Superman, Spiderman, and others, I am as big of a n00b as you can get. I only recognize the biggest of names and usually if there has been a mainstream movie made of them in the past 20 years (note how all the names I mentioned above follow that criteria).

But I want to change that. Some of these superheroes have some interesting stories, and I'd like to broaden my reading tastes. So I've begun seeking out some graphic novels of the superheroes, with an emphasis on the female ones. And I've hunted down a lot of the DC New 52 line because apparently, they have restarted (sorta) the timeline for n00bs such as myself.

Wonder Woman is probably one of the better known female superheroes, which is why I snapped up her New 52 line. But I wonder if that might have been a mistake. I wouldn't go so far as to say this was a terrible graphic novel, but it isn't one that was easy for a n00b.

There seems to be a lot of history about Wonder Woman that isn't really explained. Also, we have a lot of Greek deities thrown in, and it doesn't seem like this alternate universe is all that surprised. I guess I should be used to that - I mean, we've got Spiderman swinging around in New York and Superman in Metropolis (Yes, I know one is Marvel and the other DC), so why shouldn't Greek deities be mainstream?

But probably the worst was the rambling, nonsensical dialogue. It's like these people just like to hear themselves string words together, not even bothering to follow a thought or a conversation. The scene that stands out to me is when Wonder Woman goes from arguing with Strife to arguing with Hippolyta - I just found it impossible to follow the thread, the flow of conversation, why these characters said these things other than to talk.

There are characters that drop off, never to be heard from again (Strife and Apollo). There are lines of dialogue from characters not in a scene plastered over action pages. There are plotlines that seem to have no purpose - such as Diana listening to a rock band at a bar. People's powers aren't adequately explained. And the ending feels a bit odd - obviously, this is an ongoing series, so I don't expect full closure, but I still couldn't help a bit of confusion.

The artwork is a mixed bag. There is something about Chiang's work that is very dramatic and catchy - even if it isn't the most pleasant to look at. It is somewhat distracting to have Wonder Woman's or Hera's proportions change dramatically between panels. Akins seems to go for a more "classic" approach, while also doing a good job of blending Chiang's style (there is nothing more irritating than to read a graphic novel and see a jarring change of artists mid-trade paperback). But sometimes the characters look pretty darned goofy and cartoony.

Even though there were several things I didn't like (or was dubious about), I do think I liked Wonder Woman. She felt like a competent character, more than capable of protecting herself and those in her care. I know some didn't like the change to Wonder Woman's backstory, but I don't mind. Once I got the idea that Greek deities were going to showcase prominently, I had no trouble with it in fact. And I think this graphic novel did do a fairly good job setting up conflict for the rest of the series.

I don't regret reading this, but I probably wouldn't recommend to fellow Wonder Woman first-timers. I don't know if I'll continue reading this series; I'll probably wait to check out what others say first.