The Original Iron Lady


by Maria Layley (@MazLayley)

Growing up all I wanted to watch on TV were cartoons, nothing but cartoons, all day every day. Until the day came when my mother walked in to find I had attached a bath towel to the back of my jumper collar and was spinning round like a child possessed. Since those early days of fandom I had yet to find a suitable and honorable adaptation of the inspiration behind the head spinning and sometimes vomit inducing pirouettes. Until now. Last week marked the UK release of the third hardback installment of the new DC 52 Wonder Woman series, wonderfully titled ‘Iron’ and as you will find out the story is anything from rusty.

Parts 1 & 2, equally as eloquently titled Blood and Guts, find the Amazonian Princess taken from the cradle to the grave, to the ends of the universe and at times has the very fabric of her being torn apart. While protecting a young woman, Diana becomes embroiled in a vengeful attempt to kill a mortal woman whom the Greek God Zeus has had a dalliance with and his unborn demi-god child. The rambunctious father has decidely gone missing and the void is filled with a cacophony of re-imagined deities beautifully designed by Cliff Chiang. This novel also brings to light Diana’s true heritage, with her immaculate clay conception being called into question when a dark secret, hidden by her mother Hippolyta Queen of the Amazons, is finally given the light of day.

The second volume introduces Diana to her, at times unwanted, new and highly dysfunctional family. Brian Azzarello’s introduction of the Gods and Goddesses of Olympus continues to be both beautiful and brutal in depiction. After being betrayed, Wonder Woman is forced to embark on a journey to the Underworld to rescue the young mother she swore to protect. Accompanied by the God of love Eros, the Messenger Hermes and the frankly lovable Blacksmith Hephastus, the newly revealed Daughter of Zeus has to find their way back whilst trying to stop Hera and her sister Strife’s plans to kill the missing newborn child.

Now to Iron. This chapter opens with the story of how the young Princess becomes a warrior and the relationship with her teacher Ares or War as they call him here. This give a rich tapestry to her past, layered on the backdrop of her pain caused by her apparent birth and you begin to get the feeling that she has suffered whilst surrounded by desperate efforts to make her Queen proud. Meanwhile Zola’s child has been stolen and the mighty Amazon seeks help from her demi-god brothers and sisters in order to locate the baby as both Apollo, who is wanting Zeus’ throne and Orion, who is on orders to prevent an ancient universe ending prophecy, are looking for ways to find and murder the child. Unbeknownst to anyone the first born of Zeus and Hera has arisen after clawing his way to Earth for seven thousand years. The rather grotesque and cannibalistic, yet extremely intelligent immortal was sentenced to death on the day of his birth, but was granted mercy when the witch who prophesied his fate took pity on Hera and abandoned him instead, so he is understandable annoyed.

While the introduction of new demi-god characters give life and meaning to the series, the main example of the god’s fickle thoughts and actions fall on the character War. In the beginning his demeanour is one of a Father, proud of his Amazonian ‘daughter’, who then turns bitter and enraged when their relationship sours only to show his true colours in the end. Aside from this story arc this volume isn’t about the titled character but more about the origin of the First and Last born, with this the sides have been drawn and each has its leader, which now begs the question which side will be victorious?

4 stars out of 5 stars
photo credit: Jeff Victor

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