Hands down, this is a fantastic issue of WONDER WOMAN. It's clear that both Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang channeled old Wonder Woman comics when they sat down to create this issue. The dialogue is very similar to the type of dialogue and narrative that you would see in early Wonder Woman comics. Cliff also does a great job capturing the look and feel of Diana as a pre-teen.
This issue does a few things really well. It explores Diana's psyche; who she is and where she came from, which is exactly what a good "zero issue" should do. Diana has endured this sense of despair about having been "born of clay." The Amazon Princess struggled to gain acceptance and respect from her peers while she was growing up, and I think it's interesting to see that referenced here in this issue. It's definitely an experience that helped mold Diana's personality.
The end of the issue also features a scene where Wonder Woman is faced with a troubling reality; what does it mean to be a true warrior? She demonstrates that although others may have certain expectations of her, she will be true to herself first and foremost; even if it means losing the respect of someone she looks up to. It's an interesting notion and I think it's one of the most important scenes in her series so far. This scene is Azzarello's way of showing the reader the kind of person that Diana is. In this scene, Accarello is essentially shaping the woman that she will grow up to be and defining her moral code. She will not kill if she does not have to. That's pretty heavy for a thirteen-year old.
Now, this isn't necessarily a "bad" thing, I just wasn't quite sure where to put it. One of the characteristics that defined Diana was the idea that she was raised on an island of women, isolated from men. She was groomed by female warriors to be the greatest female warrior. In Azzarello's version of Diana's origin, he changes all that. Diana first meets a man when she is confronted by the God of War who agrees to train her, if she is willing. In this issue Diana agrees and she is taught by a man to be the greatest warrior. On the surface, this doesn't seem like too much of a problem, or even a really big change; but for a longtime fan of the character, this change to her origin has massive implications.
Azzarello presents a good point. Could Diana really be the ultimate, most badass warrior there every existed without a well-rounded education and a broad skill-set? To be the ultimate warrior Diana would not only need to gain the perspective of her Amazonian peers and her mother, but the perspective of the God of War as well -- who just so happens to be a man. Only with that well rounded education could she surpass her peers.
Yet, could this change could also be viewed as Azzarello's way of implying that Diana could never be one of the greatest warriors ever to exist if taught by an island full of women? That does change things a bit, doesn't it?
You can view the events in a couple of different ways. Either there are sexist undertones present in this issue, or this is Azzarello's way of explaining that Diana needed additional perspective in order to become a great warrior.
While I can see how this could be a contentious issue, the more I think about it, the more I find I like the idea. By establishing War as a father figure to Diana she is being developed into a more well-rounded character. Not only did she gain a father-figure to teach her, but she also gained a more well rounded warrior skill-set. Having said that, is this something that couldn't be achieved with just women? Does Wonder Woman need a man to be a whole character? I think that this issue left me with more questions than answers about the identity of Wonder Woman's character and it will be interesting to see how they alter her persona in the coming issues.