After Strife’s devastating attack on the Amazon’s home, the warriors must deal with the unfortunate duty of laying their dead to rest. Surprisingly, the goddess sticks around to taunt them and it drives home the fact that to the Amazons the gods are truly gods, not peers, as they must contend with her presence even after her action cost them so many lives. Wonder Woman must also struggle with the revelation that she was not molded from clay. We learn that as a result of this legend, she was cruelly nicknamed “Clay” as a child. It’s also interesting to note that she actually shared a childhood with other young Amazons, as in her prior origin, she was the only child to grow up among these grown women.
Instead, Diana was the lovechild produced from the tryst between her mother, Hippolyta and Zeus, King of the Gods. Hippolyta lied to protect her daughter from Hera’s famous wrath. It’s also implied that Diana left the Amazons simply out of wanderlust. The tournament to select a champion may not have occurred in this reality. Aleka confronts Diana, who angrily lights the Amazon’s funeral pyres with her amazing super breath before declaring that she is leaving the Amazons for good and that she is no longer to be known as Diana, but simply Wonder Woman.
I’m not sure how I felt about the big reveal that Wonder Woman no longer has the familiar origin of being molded from clay. The old origin was sort of crazy and felt like a product of its time. (She was created in 1941.) I don’t think it works in a modern context. On the other hand, a lot of people feel that making Wonder Woman another of Zeus’ love children demeans her and takes away some of what made her special. I can understand that viewpoint as well. I think the fact that I’m not sure how to feel, points to the fact that maybe this just isn’t a very good step. Yes, being molded from clay sounds silly, but this new origin just seems too common. Every super hero should have a simple concise and iconic origin, whether it’s Bruce Wayne seeing his parents killed before him, baby Kal-El being rocketed to Earth from Krypton or Peter Parker getting bitten by a radioactive spider and learning that “with great power, comes great responsibility.” Being Zeus’ bastard child doesn’t really rank alongside that. I guess it just falls short.
Beyond that, Brian Azzarello’s characterization continues to be strong. Hermes has a very minor role in this issue, but his few lines felt consistent with the way Azzarello has depicted him up to now. Hippolyta comes across as strong and compassionate. Diana’s decision to leave the Amazons illustrates her strength as well, but I still feel that she’s a bit of a cypher at this point. Especially considering all the other changes that are being made, I just don’t feel I know this Wonder Woman yet.
Cliff Chiang’s work never fails to impress. One thing that stood out to me in this issue is that his Amazons all have different heights and proportions and body types. Most artists don’t go to that much trouble, so when one does go the extra mile and incorporates so many nice details, it should be commended.
This was a slower, character-developing issue. Hera’s onslaught is currently paused as no other attacks occur here. I mentioned that Hermes plays a smaller role in this issue, but Zola’s is even briefer. She really only gets one line of dialogue, so her story also receives no development. This isn’t a terrible thing, but I’m looking forward to some further resolution and action.
WONDER WOMAN #3
Written by Brian Azzarello
Art and Cover by Cliff Chiang