Brian Azzarello has carved out (a particularly apt metaphor for this issue) his own section of DC’s New 52 that his Wonder Woman stories seem to exist in on their own. They’ve only crossed over with one other title and it was an excellent run with Batwoman, which has allowed him to tell some singularly unique and strange stories with a much different tone than a great many other DC books. This issue gives us the return of Orion as well as showing us the (horrific) fate of the First Born as well as Strife’s wheeling and dealing and Hera’s adaptation to life as a mortal. That last one actually leads to some of the book’s best interactions as the former Queen of the Gods adjusts not only to a life-span, but how its altered her perceptions. There’s a third storyline involving Cassandra, Milan and Siracca (the spiciest of demigods) that ties the characters together by issue’s end.
Goran Sudzuka returns on pencils with Jose Marzan Jr. on inks for the final five pages and Matthew Wilson on colors throughout. The shift in inkers is seamless and retains the book’s dark, moody lines and shadows and Wilson’s colors, as always, are vibrant and perfectly suited to the mythic tone of the series. There’s a scene with Apollo, Dionysus and the First Born that is particularly gut-wrenching, as well as being straight from a Greek fable. That’s something the art has done very well since this series’ beginning: creating a look that is a perfect melding of modern sensibilities with ancient tones, and it works beautifully.
This issue is full-on set up and it goes off in a few too many directions at once. There are no fewer than four storylines either introduced or followed-up on, at least two of which are centered around mysteries of some form or other. There’s also a moment where a character is given a level of trust they haven’t really earned, though if that turns out to be intentional later, I will happily recant.
This book continues to be a breath of fresh air not just in the New 52 but across superhero comics in general. As we’ve seen several excellent meldings of sci-fi and superhero, this book perfectly melds the fantasy genre with it, and that’s a great deal tougher in my opinion. This is a great jumping-on issue for anyone who’s been curious whether the book is worth checking out.