Arguably one of the best titles of The New 52, “Wonder Woman” has had a strong first year. With many number twelves either transitioning into bigger stories and crossovers or ending entirely, “Wonder Woman” ties off this year long arc spectacularly and then teases the heck out of readers.
Written by Brian Azzarello
Illustrated by Cliff Chiang
– WONDER WOMAN faces a choice: Defend ZEUS’S throne from APOLLO — or defend her closest friend!
– Plus: Zola gives birth to something completely unexpected!
Controversial Statement: DC does the best gods. Between books such as this and many of their Vertigo titles, their catalogue of the mythological is fairly accurate, and more true to the spirit of the gods and creatures inspiring the characters. In “Wonder Woman,” Azzarello has managed to give the Greek Pantheon an interesting makeover, while sticking to what makes the classical characters memorable: their flaws, egos, and constant family bickering. For a mythology or “Wonder Woman” fan, probably part of the fun of this new direction was encountering the gods and trying to figure out who they were with their new, modern stylizations, or being thrown for a total loop when a previously mentioned but yet-to-be-seen god appeared.
From a writing standpoint this book is action packed, and doesn’t slow down until the last four or five pages. Even the talking scenes have a lot of movement and dynamism. While that action is nicely scripted, it comes with a price. This book just feels too short. Understanding that the author only has a set amount of pages to fit everything into, it still feels like this issue would have benefited from some decompression. If done right, it would be doubtful that many readers would have minded waiting until issue thirteen to wrap up the story.
Another ongoing issue is still dialogue. If all the lines were stripped off the page and put down without any reference to who delivered them, it would be nigh impossible to tell which character was speaking. A little differentiation would be nice. That said, the plot is tied off with plenty to bring a reader back for thirteen, and seeing even more of Azzarello’s godly interpretaions will hopefully never get old. Throw in a nice new take on Diana’s powers, a handy prophecy with multiple triggers and a sneak peek at another DC pantheon that hasn’t had much exposure yet, the good offsets the annoying. Plus there is a fantastic ‘should have seen that one coming’ moment.
Cliff Chiang is someone who bewitched me with his work on “Zatanna” and one of his only crimes is that he didn’t draw all of this year’s “Wonder Woman” run. The effectiveness and eerieness of Azzarello’s Dodekatheon and crew is half Chang’s victory as well. Not only do these gods look godly, even the nice ones look downright frightening. If there were a contest, Apollo and Hephaestus would win for the most unique redesigns. This issue is no different. There is a crispness to Chang’s lines that make characters jump out at you. At first it may look a little ‘animated series’ style, but it grows on you. They style is so unique, and this book is uniquely good, they just go together amazingly well. It will be fun to see Chang’s take on the new gods showing up in the coming months. Really, more suspense than a greek tragedy is building up.
If this is your first issue of “Wonder Woman” then I’m sorry, you are probably horribly confused. If you picked up the first few issues and left for whatever reason, try hopping back on with this anniversary issue. Many of your questions from earlier on in the year should be resolved, and you will be just in time to get a front row seat for the insanity that will hopefully ensue.
Final Verdict: 8.0- Buy it. But ignore the cover, because that doesn’t happen.