Some workers on a barge in the Thames discover the remains of a giant mythological beast, a mer-horse, sacred to Poseidon. Later, Wonder Woman’s breakfast (tomatoes?!) with Zola and Hermes is interrupted by the arrival of yet another of Zeus’ love children, a coarse Englishman named Lennox. He sends Wonder Woman and Zola to meet with Poseidon. Along the way, the two women bond and discuss family. When she gives birth, technically that makes Zola Diana’s aunt! Diana is still adjusting to the fact that the gods, not the Amazons, are her family.
A fleet of mer-horses arrive, rising from the Thames, preceding Poseidon himself. Unlike the other gods, who have taken forms that are humanoid, the sea god has taken the form of an enormous fish creature. He declares that with Zeus’ absence, he like the others, plans to seize control or at least a portion of it. Wonder Woman informs him that Hera has already made claim to Zeus’ power, to which Poseidon reacts violently.
Meanwhile, Lennox has gone to meet with yet another god. (I’m not sure who this one is, yet.) He is attacked by Cerebrus, the three-headed dog, before the god intervenes. As Wonder Woman struggles with Poseidon, Hera’s centaurs arrive in London on an unspecified mission.
The art this issue was provided by Tony Akins, presumably to give regular penciller Cliff Chiang a break after the bang up first story arc. (Check out issues 1, 2, 3 and 4.) Akins is no Chiang, but no one is! I am not familiar with his work (off the top of my head, anyway), but it does seem like he was trying to at least mimic Chiang’s style, so at least there is some continuity there. His style is a lot sleeker and smoother than Chiang’s has been on this title. At any rate, he does a great job. There’s a lot of nice detail work. His Diana is simply lovely! Nice facial expressions, solid story telling. All in all, nice work for a fill-in!
Matthew Wilson colors this issue and that really stood out to me. I loved how he gave Diana olive skin, to reflect her Mediterranean origins, which rarely occurs. Most colorists simply color her Caucasian, so I really appreciated this detail that gives her a slightly more “ethnic” look.
As for the writing, it is provided as usual, by the amazing Brian Azzarello, and we get a lot of development of Wonder Woman and her new supporting cast. He does a great job of humanizing Diana, which has historically proven difficult for a lot of writers, who have a tendency to depict her as flawless. Zola even comments that she’s “Perfect,” to which Diana answers, “Me? I’m not even close.” She expresses regret over past mistakes and Zola relates to that. So does the reader.
The new character Lennox is okay. He’s your basic John Constantine/Butcher from ‘The Boys’ type, he smokes near a pregnant woman (Diana puts a stop to that), has a bandage on his nose indicating he was recently in a fight, has no boundaries but may be able to provide valuable insight. He may prove more interesting as the story unfolds, but as of right now, he seemed too much of a stereotype.
Tangent: As much as I enjoy ‘Wonder Woman’ in general, there are a few elements of the old character I’m starting to miss. For one thing, while it’s great that stories can be told utilizing her mythological background, I don’t want it forgotten that she is still a super hero. I’d like to see an upcoming storyline that has nothing to do with the gods. Can she fight some giant robots or aliens or something? I also miss her old supporting cast. I want to see Steve Trevor and Etta Candy and Julia & Vanessa Kapatelis. One solution that I propose is to give her a second book. It could be called ‘The Sensational Wonder Woman’ (in reference to her Golden Age series ‘Sensation Comics’). Superman has two books. Batman has like seven. Even Green Lantern has a whole sub-line! The most famous female super hero in comics should be able to carry two books, especially if given top shelf talent like on this book. C’mon, DC! Okay, Tangent over.
This low-key issue ties into the greater storyline, but overall, it felt like a fill-in. There’s some new information presented and of course a new character. But it didn’t feel essential. I can’t imagine anyone picking up this issue cold and finding it so compelling they need to keep reading the series. So unfortunately…
WONDER WOMAN #5
Written by Brian Azzarello
Art by Tony Akins
Cover by Cliff Chiang