Seeking information on his new found brother First Born, Apollo turns to three young Latina women and turns them into his “graces,” essentially oracles capable of learning what has transpired in the past. We discover that First Born is indeed the first child of Zeus and Hera (this was never clear before), but that a witch foretold that this child was destined to rule Olympus alone. Zeus ordered the child be put to death, but sympathizing with the distraught Hera, the witch dropped the child on a plain in Africa, where it was raised by hyenas. Eventually, he became their leader and mutated them into hyena human hybrids and used them to conquer other lands, but nothing he did attracted the attention of his parents. Finally, Zeus confronted him and hurled him into the seemingly bottomless pit from which he later emerged, thousands of years later.
The graces warn Apollo with a cryptic message that the throne of Olympus is not yet his, even though he has seized it for the time being.
The ‘Cheetah’ issue was a huge detour from the normal narrative of this series, but with this issue and regular writer Brian Azzarello back, ‘First Born’ slides right back into the world he has crafted since issue #1. The tale of First Born is tragic yet epic and sweeping. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much personality beyond “vengeful and angry.” Even so, I suppose it’s nice to simply get some clarity on the character, since it’s clear Azzarello isn’t done with him yet.
To my knowledge, this is the first time we’ve ever seen Zeus, who was presumed dead at the launch of this series, so that was another important element.
The art by Aco fits in perfectly with the styles of Cliff Chiang, the book’s regular artist as well as those that have filled in on the series. It’s really beautiful, with a fitting amount of grittiness that works well, not to mention sweeping fluid action, drama and and intricate detailing. It really works with Azzarello’s epic storytelling.
This story has absolutely no connection to ‘Forever Evil.’ I don’t think that was a requirement, but it’s worth mentioning, if you’re only interested in the issues that tie into that.
I must admit, however, I really enjoyed the ‘Cheetah’ issue because it broke away from the regular storyline for just a little bit and we got to see a Wonder Woman that was more an integrated part of the DC Universe and that’s something I miss. Azzarello clearly have a vision with this book. It’s pretty lush and sweeping and I can’t fault him for that, but I wish he would be more open to stepping away from his gods and monsters and letting Wonder Woman play with all the toys in the sandbox. (I guess that’s not really a valid criticism, just an opinion.) But overall, this was a strong, though not perfect issue that fits well in with all that’s gone before it.
WONDER WOMAN #23.2/FIRST BORN #1
Written by Brian Azzarello
Art by Aco
Cover by Victor Ibanez