This wasn’t a terribly eventful issue of Wonder Woman until the very last page, with the book consisting of just two fight scenes, but it was a fun read that built on the good things we saw last month. While it’s only February, it feels like Azzarello is building towards the annual August finale already, though I’m sure there will be plenty of twists and turns before then. Let’s talk about the issue, but first:
I am about to discuss ALL of the goings-on in this comic book!
Go read the issue first!
So we’ve got two fights that ultimately move the pieces around a bit. The result of the first fight was Cassandra capturing Dionysus, and using him to gain entry into Mount Olympus while, unbeknownst to her, Wonder Woman grabbed onto the ship and tagged along for the ride. They arrived at Mount Olympus just as the second fight reached its explosive conclusion. It looked like the First Born had gained the upper hand over Apollo, withstanding his solar blasts and crushing him in a brutal bear hug, but Apollo had an ace up his sleeve and destroyed his skyscraper Mount Olympus, with himself and the First Born atop the roof, in a massive, fiery explosion.
There was a lot to like in both fight scenes, but let’s start with Cassandra and her minotaur in France. First, I liked the twist that Cassandra was actually after Dionysus and that Zola and Zeke happened to be there was just coincidence. We’ve had two and a half years of everyone chasing after Zeke, so we’re used to him as a target, but Cassandra didn’t even seem aware he was there. That was a nice misdirect, and a speedy resolution to Zola’s runaway sideplot as she’s already back in the vicinity of her team.
Speaking of the team, they’re still together! No one betrayed Wonder Woman! That’s very nice to see. I’m glad that the team is effective and working well together, and I really like the lineup. Artemis is useful addition, with her fighting skills and tracking prowess, but she’s also a lot of fun. She’s always spoiling for a fight, has cool weapons like her moonerangs, and Matthew Wilson colours her so beautifully. I love the blues he uses, and how her moonlike glow lights up every panel she’s in. Even in bright light, Wilson captures a slight lumosity with Artemis. His work with the character is quite stunning all around.
If you’ve read my reviews before, you know that Hermes is my favourite character, and this panel of him catching a spear in his talon while Wonder Woman deflects a spray of bullets is an absolute blast:
Wonder Woman, Hermes, and Artemis have a great dynamic in the fight scenes, and when they’re not fighting they also have Hera to add some comic relief and make for some enjoyable exchanges.
There was also a heroic moment for Zola after the minotaur captured Dionysus. She was safe and could have left, but she decided to go after Dio:
Later in the issue, we see her near the ramp to Cassandra’s ship and, since she doesn’t show up after that, I assume that she and Zeke sneaked onto the ship to try to help Dionysus. Zola’s been running since the series began, as she should, considering she’s got a baby to protect. But she’s also been hanging out with heroes, and it’s starting to rub off on her. She doesn’t want to just be a damsel in distress anymore, nor does she need to be; Zeke is just a baby, but he’s also quite a weapon when push comes to shove.
Over on Mount Olympus, the First Born sure took a beating but the First Born is nothing if not used to perpetual pain and misery. There was a classic Azzarello piece of dialogue when Apollo couldn’t understand why his fiery blasts weren’t stopping the First Born, and the First Born replied, “My hate burns hotter than a thousand sons.” The First Born’s rampage is all about his daddy issues, and the son/sun exchange underscored that nicely without having to rehash the entire story.
It was a well crafted fight, and Chiang and Wilson did an excellent job depicting the increasingly charred First Born. Wilson also did a fantastic job colouring Apollo, who transitioned from a white hot glow to increasingly dark shades of orange as he blasts at the First Born and depletes his solar energy. The changes are subtle and gradual, and are characteristic of the care that Wilson puts into his colouring in every issue of Wonder Woman.
Jared K. Fletcher had a strong issue lettering as well. Fight scenes mean a lot of sound effects, and Fletcher did a great job communicating the action with sound effects that capture each punch, shot, and block without being obtrusive or impeding the flow of the story. Letterers have a thankless job; when they’re at their best, they blend in so perfectly that you don’t notice them, and Fletcher did just that in a sound-heavy issue.
All together, this was a solid, albeit quick, issue of Wonder Woman. The destruction of Olympus might have some big repercussions, depending on who survives the blast and how soon it is restored. If Apollo is dead and the First Born survives and captures the throne, that would create a whole new dynamic where the rest of the gods, including Wonder Woman, would have to team up to depose him; that could be fun. While the issue itself was just a couple of well put together fights, the ramifications of these fights could have some huge implications for the book moving forward. I’m excited to see what happens next.