Last issue, Wonder Woman and her allies barely escaped the clutches of First Born, the first of Zeus’ demigod bastard children… well, one of them didn’t escape, sacrificing themself to save the rest. After recuperating on New Genesis, Diana learns more about their world, which is very close to the fantastic world Jack Kirby crafted oh so many decades ago, with Super Town hovering over the remains of the rest of their planet, which serves as a reminder of the great war they fought before. (Against Darkseid, presumably, but it’s not expressly stated.)
Later, Wonder Woman and the rest, including Orion, are brought to answer in front of Highfather, ruler of the New Gods, who demands Zeke, Zola’s son who is rumored to be the destroyer of the world(s) and sends the rest back to Earth, where they find London scorched and devastated by First Born. Hopefully, the arrival of another of Diana’s adopted family arrives and may be able to turn the tide in their favor. Maybe.
‘Wonder Woman’ has been criticized for secretly being a team book and not the solo showcase it purports to be. The cast has been whittled down just a bit and this issue strikes a nice balance. Wonder Woman gets to shine a bit, mostly in her one on one scene with Orion, soaring over the remains of New Genesis. Even elsewhere, she is the standout, while still emphasizing the fact that she and her allies, like it or not, are a family. That family aspect really shines here and is pretty nice. This book can get overly crowded, but here the balance is perfect. Hopefully that continues as the series progresses.
It’s a lower key issue, mostly consisting of dialogue, but it sets up a real battle next issue, so as such, I think it works as a nice stopgap with solid dialogue and interesting plot developments.
Cliff Chiang’s art is the one consistently excellent part of the book. Of course that carries on here, plus he really gets to soar when depicting the majestic home of the New Gods, with its bright, high tech look a stark contrast with this book’s grittier London setting or the more smooth, classic domain of the Greek gods.
This is a good, tight issue of this series which of course… is not always good or tight. ‘Wonder Woman’ has been one of the most controversial and quite frankly inconsistent series of the New 52. This issue helps remind us that it still has loads of potential and once Azzarello’s tenure ends, maybe the good will outweigh the bad.
WONDER WOMAN #22
Written by Brian Azzarello
Art and Cover Cliff Chiang