Apollo travels to war-torn Darfur, where his brother Ares has taken up residence, which makes sense. Their droll discussion of their “family” reveals more about the current state of the gods in this new reality. Apollo reveals that Zeus has gone missing and that another god must step up to the throne. Ares tells him he isn’t interested, but once Apollo goes, it is revealed that that may not be true. The gods are known for their duplicity, so Ares surely has some trickery up his sleeve.
After severing her ties with the Amazons last issue, Wonder Woman, with Zola, Hermes and Strife in tow, returns to London, where she goes to a rock concert at a club, in order to get out of her head for a while. Strife gets drunk and says mean things. She and Diana have a fight and she leaves.
Hera goes to Paradise Island, where the Amazons attempt to take up arms against her. Hippolyta orders them to stay back. She goes to Hera and apologizes and asks for forgiveness. The Amazons, despite their orders, surround Hera, aiming their arrows at her. Hera seems unable to take her revenge on Hippolyta, but…
Back at her apartment, Diana talks with Zola about how she always felt different from everyone, knowing she was molded from clay. She states that that is why she left the island to begin with. (So no contest of champions, huh?) Zola talks about her past as well, that her father has been in prison since she was a baby and that her mother died. “So my home?” she says, “It’s just a word. I’m probably better off without it.” Her words inspire Diana to give her mother another chance. Borrowing Hermes’ caduceus, she returns to Paradise Island, only to discover that Hera has taken her revenge!
Brian Azzarello’s approach to the gods is very interesting. Past creators like Greg Rucka and Phil Jiminez employed similar depictions, but Azzarello’s is even more unique than theirs. It’s interesting that rather than sequestering themselves on Mount Olympus as they typically have, they are out in the real world, their powers impacting the humans around them, such as Ares, the god of war, spurring the violence in Darfur.
The dialogue is snappy, especially Zola and Strife’s. Not ironically, with Wonder Woman’s discovery that she is human, not clay, she displays more vulnerability than usual, which helps humanize her. She’s a character that a lot of readers have trouble relating to, so this should help rectify that.
Cliff Chiang continues to excel and I think this is his best work ever. And considering how much I enjoy his art, that says a lot! The storytelling is just fantastic. So is the body language. Diana in her apartment just looks lost and vulnerable and that adds a lot to the dialogue.
I flipped through the John Carter comic that came out last week. It featured Carter stark naked on the cover and he was naked through the first half of the book. In ‘Wonder Woman,’ Hera is naked underneath her peacock feather cloak, but the cloak opens at times. In both books, they pull the ol’ comic book blocking technique where they “cheat” something in front of their naughty bits. I’m starting to find this kind of corny. I get that to keep them ‘Teen’ appropriate they have to. But with the mature tone that most comics now have, I kind of wish they’d just make every book ‘Mature’ and just allow those things to be shown. It’s not like I’m some perv looking to see some cartoon skin, but I’m a adult and the fact that there’s always something (and sometimes it’s just smoke or shadow) that happens to be positioned right there is just silly. In this issue, in one panel, Hera’s cloak flies wide open, but luckily she’s holding the biggest battle ax ever in front of herself. Come on.
Tangent over, this is shaping up to be a great run on ‘Wonder Woman.’ She’s had some great runs in the past, but with the massive changes being wrought under the guidance of Azzarello, this may be one for the history books. DC hasn’t always given the character the A-List creators she deserves, so having two of the best working on her book right now is great! Can’t wait to see what happens next.
WONDER WOMAN #1
Written by Brian Azzarello
Art and Cover by Cliff Chiang