Brian Azzarello writes this issue, a true rarity among the Villain’s Month titles, and the fact that tonal consistency definitely comes through. Not to take anything away from the other books’ creative teams, but there’s something to be said, especially on a book that has had a single writer since its first issue, for a writer with two years under his belt on a title to keep writing it. The First Born is delivered to Apollo, the new King of Olympus, a shattered, broken and very, very bloody man. Apollo wants, and probably needs, to know everything he can about this new player in the realm of gods, so he asks the Oracles, in very unconventional disguises, to tell him the tale of the First Born. The writing in this book vacillates between comical and tragic as it tells the epic tale of the No Name warrior’s origin.
ACO takes over the lines with series regular Matthew Wilson on colors, and it actually is very reminiscent of the art in previous issues, making the whole thing flow from the previous issues seamlessly. There are definite differences, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing as most of this issue takes place in the very distant past and a little artistic shift is certainly called for. Most of the tale has a very epic feel with massive gulfs of time between panels, so there’s very little moment-to-moment action, but everything feels appropriate. This definitely feels, both in terms of the writing and art, like it was pulled from an ancient Greek myth.
I’m not a fan of the Oracles, even after being compelled to speak by Apollo, still using modern parlance and intonations. I get that it’s entirely intentional, and may even be for comedic relief, but it just winds up breaking the immersion in the amazing tale being told and comes off as tone-deaf.
Speaking of the tale being told, it's a good one, great even, but it’s also fairly rote. I meant what I said about this sounding like it comes straight from a real Greek myth, and that’s both a good thing and a bad thing. I love that it sounds so genuine but I dislike that it’s the kind of thing you’ve heard before if you’ve ever cracked a book of Greek myths and read more than 20 pages.
It may not be the most unique tale ever told, but this is still one helluvan issue and it’s worth checking out for any fan of Wonder Woman as it seems like this particular fellow is going to be playing a pretty substantial role moving forward. The art is definitely a contributing factor to this recommendation as it captures the epic, mythic, glorious scale of this story of gods and bastards.