Wonder Woman #12 (from The Batmom August 2012)

COVERGIRL: Like: darker palette, bright moon, and Apollo’s glowy accoutrements. Love: Wonder Woman grabbing Apollo and delivering a smackeroo.

All superheroes are loners, but Wonder Woman is an Other among superheroes, defying standards and refusing to be a This or a That.

On cover #12, she’s subverting a familiar romantic stance (e.g. Life's 1945 kissing sailor photo) and seizing the male position. Apollo, a sleek and manly god as painted by Cliff Chiang’s brush, is here emasculated.

I’m not saying Wonder Woman consciously wars in the name of woman; she’s just who she is. She defies expectations, stereotypes, and genres. She’s not grabbing Apollo because she is woman, hear her roar. She’s grabbing Apollo because he needs his shiny ass kicked. That she is woman, and occasionally roars, is not a point she is making but the point is made nonetheless.

Wonder Woman walks the walks and leaves the talking to others.

INSIDE STORY: Apollo raises a new Olympus, replete with skyscrapers as flashy as he.

Wonder Woman removes her cuffs and undergoes an astounding transformation: her eyes glow, her power surges.

Zola’s water breaks.

Hera, cast out of the realm of the gods by Apollo, becomes mortal and auditions for the newest Real Housewives.

She also chucks Zola off a ledge; Wonder Woman gains flight and saves her.

Has Diana sprouted wings? Nope. Her dear friend Hermes, the kind and brave messenger we’ve grown to adore over 12 issues, zings a feather at her, temporarily granting her flight. How typical of him, acting the friend and savior. Too bad he STEALS ZOLA’S BABY TWO SECONDS LATER, BETRAYING DIANA.

RAMBLE: YOL. That’s Yelping Out Loud. Start using it.

I have never been so surprised by a comic. I opened the book to take a peek while my son was brushing his teeth. He finished brushing but I couldn’t stop reading. Though he was puffing impatiently and waving Green Lantern #5 in my face, I could not put the book down

When I reached the betrayal, I YOLed. I shouted, “What?” I whispered, “et tu, Hermes?”

I felt betrayed. I’m not even lying. And I was so happy I felt betrayed, I yelped again. Because this is how much I love this book. To feel a visceral response to a work of art, this is one of the great joys of reading. To render a character and tell a story with such skill that your readers respond like I did, must be one of the great joys of creating.

All hail Chiang and Azzarello. And Hermes be damned.