Wrath of a woman scorned
I have to say that initially I thought it was a gamble that I placed my money on the WW title because of the jumble its been through the last couple of years, but out of the Big Three of DC, Diana has always been the most interesting, but now with #4 read, I can say I am glad I took the chance for if anyone had their title reinvigorated by the New 52, it's been Wonder Woman.
Azzarello is still lumbering the story around in his/its own pace, in the old days this would have been the concluding issue of the opening story and he does a great job of making everyone with a face and a name matter and give them their own voices, even replacing some of the tried and tested versions that people like. What I say next can be found (mostly) in the preview pages for those who have not read the entire issue:
Diana is upset about the prior revelations back in #2 and 3, even more so because she's suddenly understands a lot of things about her past. And since she was so steamed about it, she's gone back to London and has decided to vent in a more constructive way and has hit the bars to listen to a live metal act with Zola, Hermes and Strife in tow.
Zola again reminds us of that she at once is a modern woman when she explains to Hermes what they are doing in a London bar, while later on going over how her life has suddenly looped on itself several times. Also we get some needed weight to her when we get a little glimpse into her past
Ares, or War as the Gods call him now, has been reinvented as a wiry old man who has a penchant for drinking and seems to not give a toss about anything, even if he is drinking in a corpse filled bar in Darfur during a raid. Some have argued that War/Ares should be the physically imposing warrior Perez created, but for others this new version simply reflects the time he is in. In the ancient past War was pretty much what you get from 300, decided with big muscle men with shields and swords, now War is dictated by old men from far away with a pen.
Strife, I am inclined to call her Diana's long lost Joker or Mr. Mxyzptlk, at once both extremely aggravating to have around for Diana while at the same time humorous for the reader and in the end impossible to get rid of before she decides to leave. And in this book Strife, or Eris as she was known, continues to poke fun at Diana, even when it might be the worst time of all. So far she seems to be the breakout character of the book, and this is worth noting since she was little more than Ares-light last time I remember her appearing.
Hermes continues to serve as light comic-relief, acting as alien as he looks, but at the same time providing some voice of reason and occasional aid. Visually he is still interesting because they have to take him along wherever they go because of his injury and because of his appearance have to figure out ways to conceal him and his features.
Apollo appears to have taken over the old version of Ares scheming ways and appears to think the current debacle of missing Zeus is something that can be exploited for his own benefit, though he tries to charm, War see's right through him however, which is strange since War, without the aid of oracles but experience, appears the wiser of the two. Time will tell if War will be correct.
Hera, while you wont see her in the previews other than from the front page, Azzarello really does a trick that's worth noticing, he makes her extremely relatable in maybe four panels. She is the Goddess of Women and Marriage, Queen of the Gods, meaning she has incredible powers and responsibilities. But at the same time, her marriage is a ruin and Zeus is out having fun with other women than her, it is no wonder that Hera is beyond furious but at the same time, she hates that she has to do what she has to.
Hippolyta, she tries to be wise and she is in most cases, but it's safe to say she knew full well what would happen the day Hera found out. Try as she might, she doesn't want others to suffer because of her mistakes but in the end she faces up them. Also worth noticing is that the Amazons take sides in this issue.
For someone like Wonder Woman, you'd expect everything to be bathed in sunlight and everything to be bright. A lot of people have complained that that is what you don't get in this book. But I have to ask them to remember how much it could actually ruin the mood and flavour of the book if everything was Jim Lee level of detailed or Nicola Scott type rounded. This is the book regarding a character from an ancient world we only have glimpse of from pottery paintings, and Chiang really does an exceptional job of making the book feel like something pulled off one of those old pots. And with the current events being what they are, the dark colours and lack of details makes everything come together to make the mood right. Also, special mention has to go to his reinterpretation of what War looks like, if you've seen him and Azzarello, you get the impression that his War is someone that looks like everyone of us, since we all have the ability to make war.
Flat out I think this book blew the otherwise incredible Animal Man and Swamp Thing out of the pool this month and there is nothing I can really complain about.
Should you get it:
Yes, you should, you really should.