Posts Tagged ‘First Born’

Wonder Woman #34 Review OR Robot Elephants vs. Vengeful Gods

October 1, 2014


I liked a lot of things in this penultimate issue of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman run, but I also wasn’t keen on parts of it. Luckily, the things I didn’t like were more at the beginning and everything got crazy and twisty and fun toward the end. Plus, I think the mystery surrounding a conspicuous absence that I’ve been harping about for a couple years now might be on the verge of being addressed. Before we dig into all of that, though, first I should declare:


I am about to reveal every cool moment in this comic book!

Go read it first! It’s Cliff Chiang’s second last issue! It’s so pretty!

Okay, so let’s start with what I didn’t like. First, I wasn’t keen on the dialogue. Azzarello is known for his stylized dialogue. He’s done a lot of clever things with the way he writes people talking, both in the construction of the language and how he transitions from scene to scene. At its best, like in 100 Bullets, it’s almost poetic, and a lot of fun to read. During his Wonder Woman run, he’s reined that in a bit, until this issue where it is on full display and not in a good way.

Several scenes read almost like a parody of Azzarello. I mean, Strife literally says that she brought Wonder Woman home to where she was raised so she could watch it get razed. That’s not good stuff. Nor was Hera’s reply to Zola when she said Hera turned the jackal people into glass: “It’s crystal. Clear?” Come on. I’m all for fun wordplay, but this is rough. Azzarello is usually much better at this sort of thing.

Also, Wonder Woman almost calls Strife a bitch again. Luckily, her mother cut her off before she could finish her sentence. The last time Wonder Woman called her a bitch I railed about it for about a thousand words, so I’ll spare you a lengthy rant here. Suffice it to say, “bitch” is not a word that Wonder Woman should ever say. It’s a gendered insult that denigrates women and she would have no part of that. Plus, Wonder Woman is clever. She can come up with a better insult.

I still hate the Manazons, but I have to admit that the robot elephants were pretty cool. But Hephaestus could have just dropped by with some sweet robot elephants and we could’ve skipped the whole Manazon thing, because it is dumb dumb dumb.

What I do like about the Manazons, and this issue in general, is that all of the people Wonder Woman has interacted with over the course of this run, showing them mercy and offering them help, have come together to fight alongside her and defeat the First Born. Orion’s been in the mix since last issue, and Milan’s now swooped in to help. Hera looked to be heading back to capricious god status, but changed her mind and helped out Zola. Even Strife helped out, if only to rob Wonder Woman of the peace that death would bring her. Wonder Woman’s amassed a weird, dysfunctional family over the past three years, and now they’re all rallying behind her.

All this talk about Wonder Woman’s family brings us to Zola, who journeyed to Olympus with Wonder Woman at the issue’s end to put Zeke on the throne and rob the First Born of a lot of his power. When she arrived, Zola collapsed in pain and her eyes went all weird:


So here’s my theory about what’s up. For years now, I’ve been repeatedly bringing up the conspicuous lack of Athena in Wonder Woman. Pretty much every other Olympian god has been in the book, and with a substantial role, but we haven’t seen Athena at all (apart from maybe an owl that popped up a few times in Wonder Woman #0). My main theory about Zeke has long been that Zeke is actually Zeus; there’s the Z-name connection, plus his MASSIVE powers that manifest sporadically. Mythologically, Zeus birthed Athena; technically, she sprang fully formed from the head of Zeus, but you get what I’m saying. So what if Athena is returning the favour? If Zeus is Zeke, maybe Athena is Zola, disguised and perhaps memory wiped in order to hide her father and protect him from the dangers he knew were coming. Look at the eyes in the panel above. They look like owl eyes, and owls are the animal most commonly associated with Athena. She’s usually depicted with one on her shoulder. So maybe Athena’s been in the book the whole time and we, and probably she, didn’t know it. That would be pretty cool. I suppose I’d be bummed to lose Zola as a character, though. She’s a lot of fun.

Finally, the big reveal at the end of the issue was Poseidon emerging from the pool of blood in Olympus, though his intentions were vague. His pronouncements seemed ominous, but final page reveals are usually tricksy. We’ve got a number of options here. Poseidon might be working with the First Born, and thus is set to fight Wonder Woman and her pals. Poseidon might be angling for the throne of Olympus for himself, and thus working against the First Born but also against Wonder Woman and her pals. Or maybe Poseidon is just being bombastic and came to actually help Wonder Woman and her pals, though that one seems a bit unlikely. Either way, he’s poised to be an important player when we get the conclusion of this run in a few weeks times.

So the end is almost here, and I’m very curious to see how it all comes together in the last issue. Wonder Woman #34 had some bits and style choices that bugged me, but ultimately I enjoyed how everyone came together and I’m intrigued by the implications of the last couple pages. And I feel like I’m onto something with this Zola/Athena thing. We’ll find out soon enough, I suppose.

Wonder Woman #33 Review OR War Begins Without The God Of War

July 23, 2014


With only three issues of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s run on Wonder Woman left, the story seems to be kicking into high gear now after a few months of place setting and smaller skirmishes. We’ve been anticipating an Amazon assault on Olympus to defeat the First Born and end his reign of terror, but the tables turned in this issue. Let’s get into the details, but first:


I am about to reveal EVERYTHING that happened in this issue!

And some cool stuff happened, so go read it first!

Chiang KILLED it, so you’ll definitely want to check out this one!

All right, so let’s pick up where we left off last issue. Wonder Woman stayed behind so all of her friends could escape, and as a result she’s been captured by the First Born and is being held on Mount Olympus, tied up in nasty sinewy bonds. The First Born wants Diana to be his wife and rule the world with him, but she’s not at all interested. Her outright refusal to have anything to do with the First Born is one of the issue’s several high points.

Compared to that weird, almost marriage thing with Hades from the first year of the run, Wonder Woman’s forceful defiance and withering disdain for the First Born is much more enjoyable. Azzarello’s dialogue has Diana unequivocally refusing the First Born at every turn, and Chiang’s communicates her complete disgust with the First Born and also a confident nonchalance despite the dangerous circumstances. This exchange is one of my favourite moments from the series thus far:


That side eye! It’s so perfect.

And as a random sidenote, I love when Chiang draws Diana with her hair up. It’s a cool look that suits her well, and is a fun change given how often her hair is down. Plus her lasso is what keeps it tied up, which is a very nice touch.

As Wonder Woman continually refused the First Born, he launched an attack on Paradise Island, sending his weird jackal troops and then Cassandra and the minotaur. Despite the sizeable force, Wonder Woman was unperturbed and had complete faith in the Amazons to defeat their enemies. The First Born clearly thought that threatening the Amazons would force her to agree to be his queen, but it only steeled her resolve further.

Despite Wonder Woman’s immense faith, things didn’t go so great on Paradise Island. It started off well, with a strong moment for Aleka as she brushed aside her interpersonal conflicts and displeasure with the Manazons and declared that they would all fight together. I still completely hate the idea of the Manazons and the entire way it’s played out, but I liked the redemptive moment for Aleka, especially since she took a spear through the chest while protecting Zola. I’m glad that she and the rest of the Amazons banded together and showed their true honour when push came to shove; it’s nice to have Amazons who act like Amazons after their crap depiction thus far.

Aleka wasn’t the only casualty. Orion was gored by the minotaur, and the Amazons were overrun by the issue’s end. The First Born arrived on Paradise Island, having just stabbed Wonder Woman and leaving her to die, and things looked pretty bleak. But Zeke came to the rescue yet again. He brought the statue of Hippolyta back to life, or some sort of animated statue life, and her declaration of “No surrender… we are Amazons” made me grin ear to ear. Amazons being Amazons is just the best thing. Hippolyta’s resurrection was another high point of the series for me; this issue was big on awesome moments.

Also, Zeke has to be Zeus, right? Not even Hera could resurrect Hippolyta, but Zeke did it with his glowy eyes thing in an instant. As the chief god, it makes sense that he’d have the most power. Also the blue/white of his eye glow is reminiscent of the effect we’ve seen in flashbacks to Zeus using his powers, and when Wonder Woman goes all godlike. The baby has demonstrated powers beyond the rest of the gods, and I think that he’s a reincarnated Zeus of some sort is the only real explanation. Or he’s a genderswapped Athena, because for some mysterious reason Athena hasn’t showed up in the book yet.

So things are bad, but things are also good. Wonder Woman, Orion, and Aleka are either dead or dying, but Hippolyta is back. It looks like the tide is set to turn and the battle is about to get absolutely bonkers. I am very much onboard for this. Amazons fighting bad guys is a million time more fun than Amazon in-fighting.

I should also point out that this is the first issue where colourist Matthew Wilson gets a cover credit. Colourists rarely ever got their name on the cover of DC books before, but the publisher’s new payment plan has changed that policy. Matthew Wilson has been a rock star for Wonder Woman, and his cover credit is very much deserved. With so many fill-in artists over the past three years, Wilson’s colouring has been the key to keeping the look of the book consistent, and he’s done a great job of it.

This issue in particular showed off Wilson’s epic skills. The First Born’s Mount Olympus is a gross, fleshy monstrosity, and the colouring could have easily become a muddled pink and red mess. Instead, Wilson layered the colours beautifully to capture the fleshy look with a surprising amount of variety. The walls are pink, but shadowed with various hues of purple. There are reds throughout Olympus, but the lake of blood in the middle of the chamber was coloured black to add even more contrast. What could have been a monochromatic disaster instead became a creepily gorgeous setting.

We’ve only got TWO issues of Azzarello and Chiang’s Wonder Woman left (August and October; September is a special “Futures End” event issue), and it looks like they’re going to be pretty insane. Three years of stories are building to a head, and given Azzarello’s penchant for doing his own thing and writing Wonder Woman like it exists in its own universe, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get some shocking twists and turns and maybe some big casualties. I’m looking forward to seeing how everything unfolds.

Wonder Woman #33 Preview OR Hera Takes Charge

July 21, 2014

We’re in the final stretch of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s run on Wonder Woman, with only three issues left before Meredith and David Finch take over in November. That’s only 60 pages of comics, and thanks to Comic Vine we’ve got a look at the first 5 pages in this preview of Wonder Woman #33. Let’s check it out:








Wonder Woman’s got herself in a bad spot, but remains uncompromising despite her predicament. I love how Cliff Chiang has drawn Wonder Woman in this scene; while she may be beaten and captured, she exudes defiance in the face of the First Born’s offers. I’m going to miss Cliff Chiang so bad.

Back on Paradise Island, Orion is being a jerk and trying to take control of the situation, and Hera isn’t having any of it. It was nice to see Hera standing up to Orion and shutting him down, but the look of concern on Zola’s face is very telling. As much as she’s learned since she lost her powers, now Hera has her powers back and her son has taken over Olympus. If she’s forced to choose between the First Born and her new kinship with Zola and the Amazons, it wouldn’t surprise me if she betrayed her friends for her family. Hera’s going to be a key player to watch out for as this arc comes to a close, I think.

Wonder Woman #33 is on sale this Wednesday in comic stores everywhere and online. You should definitely pick it up, because there are only three issues of Cliff Chiang drawing Wonder Woman left! Enjoy them while you can.

Wonder Woman #32 Review OR The War Of The Gods Continues

June 19, 2014


Things are not going well for the Olympian deities. The First Born has taken Mount Olympus, and now he’s trying to kill off the gods one by one. Demeter is the target in this issue, but now the remaining gods are working together to thwart his plans. Oh, and Wonder Woman’s in there somewhere too. Let’s talk about the issue, but first:


I am about to reveal ALL of the goings on in this comic book!

I may still be on vacation, but I am not on vacation from spoiling this comic!

Carrying on, Cassandra and her minotaur pal attacked Demeter in her woodland sanctuary in Wonder Woman #32, but now the gods are wise to the First Born’s plans. Artemis and Eros showed up to help out, and then Wonder Woman, aka. the god of war, popped by too. The gang was able to defeat Cassandra and the minotaur, but then the First Born showed up and infected everything with his evilness. While most of the gods escaped, Wonder Woman stayed behind to allow them to do so, and now her fate is uncertain. Though the book is called Wonder Woman and she’s on a bunch of the upcoming covers, so I’m betting she’s alive.

Staying behind to occupy the First Born while everyone escaped was a nice, heroic moment for Wonder Woman, and very in keeping with the character. I’ve questioned how well Azzarello understands Wonder Woman before, but he got it right with this scene. She’s absolutely the sort to tackle the big bad guy so everyone else can make it out alive. That bit was nicely done.

I also liked the development of her divine powers, weaponwise. I don’t know if this new ability is Zeus-based or part of being the god of war now, but I liked that she can manufacture whatever weapon she needs for the situation at hand, in this case a bow and arrow. These weapons manufacturing powers are growing on me; they let Wonder Woman be armed and get into cool fights without always having to carry an array of weaponry with her.

Now, as much as I liked those moments for Wonder Woman, overall there was a serious lack of her in this issue. She only appears in 7 of the books 20 pages, just barely a third of the book. Although Wonder Woman has, oddly enough, not been much of a showcase for Wonder Woman herself during this run, usually she makes it to about half of the pages at least. If you go read Batman or Superman, the eponymous heroes are never on so few pages. They’re in ¾ of the book easily, and usually more.

This lack of Wonder Woman in Wonder Woman really bothered mewhen she only had one book, and continued to irritate me when she was given such a secondary role in Superman/Wonder Woman, but now with Sensation Comics on the way I am less outraged. Wonder Woman looks to have one regular showcase at least; I can’t imagine that she won’t dominate the pages of Sensation Comics.

I wasn’t thrilled with the book’s conclusion either. Wonder Woman potentially sacrificing herself was good, but Orion showing up felt like a lot of the same old to me. I’m getting very bored with Orion swooping in to save the day every time Wonder Woman gets into a bad spot, and I really hope that’s not what is happening here. Ideally, Wonder Woman #33 will begin with Wonder Woman freeing herself for a change, and Orion can just join the charge on Mount Olympus when they get around to actually launching it.

So we had some good and some bad in this issue. On top of the main plot, I’m curious to see what game Strife is playing with the First Born, because it’s Strife so you know she’s up to something. Getting cozy with the First Born can’t just be some ploy to save her life; she’s got something else up her sleeve.

On the aesthetic side of things, I think that Goran Sudzuka is getting better with each issue. Cliff Chiang is a tough act to follow, especially when you’re trying to capture his style, but Sudzuka keeps getting better and better. In particular, I thought he captured Demeter really well, and did well with the rest of the gods generally. Chiang’s Wonder Woman is so spectacular that the fill-in artists never really come close, but Sudzuka’s gods are great. This is probably the best non-Chiang issue I’ve seen, artwise, since the New 52 began.

I am a) pretty much out of things to say about this issue, and b) still in Florida and I want to go to the beach, so I’m going to cut this review a little short. I hope that the Amazon attack on Olympus begins soon, because the build to it is starting to feel pretty drawn out. The inter-god battles are fun and all, but I’m eager to see Wonder Woman front and center, leading the charge. Maybe next month? Probably not; there’s a bunch to resolve yet. But you never know.

Wonder Woman #31 Review OR Continuing To Make The Amazons Look Bad

May 22, 2014


I’ll say this up front: I did not care for this issue, and for a variety of reasons, so sorry in advance for all of the negativity. I have such mixed feelings about this run. When it’s good, it’s SO good, but when it’s bad it’s the sort of bad that just bums me out to my core as a fan of Wonder Woman and the Amazons. Wonder Woman #31 was one of the bumming me out issues. I’ll talk about why momentarily, but first:


I am going to reveal EVERY story development from this issue, few though they may be!

If you haven’t read the issue yet, run away!

But come back later when you have read it!

Carrying on, let’s start with this issue’s story, or rather the lack thereof. Nothing really happened at all, apart from the last two pages. We got some confirmation about what happened in Hades last issue, but that’s just affirming old news. And then Zeke got kidnapped again. I laughed out loud when I got to that part; Zeke is kidnapped in every other issue. I’m beginning to question if Zola is a fit mother. But Wonder Woman got him back, and the issue ended with the Amazon’s male brothers showing up on Paradise Island, and the news that Hermes is in trouble. It was twenty pages of not a lot happening, other than the continued campaign of making the Amazons look stupid.

I can’t decide whether Brian Azzarello just fundamentally misunderstands the Amazons or if he actively dislikes them and is trying to make them look terrible. I realize that I talked about the Amazons last month, but bear with me; I’ve got new critiques, not a rehash.

First, I don’t understand why all of the old Amazons don’t exist in this universe. In this issue, Wonder Woman talks with a black Amazon who was a chief advisor for Hippolyta. That should be Philippus, right? Everybody loves Philippus. She’s super cool. But no, it’s a new Amazon named Dessa. She looks like Philippus and functions in a similar role, but she’s a new character. Along the same lines, Aleka seems to be an Artemis analogue, a redheaded warrior who’s not at all impressed with Diana. It seems silly to create a new cast of Amazons when there are already known, loved characters. The New 52 has wiped away that history, replacing these characters with subpar facsimiles. I suppose they had to do so, because lord knows that Philippus wouldn’t stand for the foolishness that’s been going on with the Amazons these past few years.

Second, Dessa is the only Amazon who stands up for the all female, warrior society that the Amazons have always been, and she is presented as both murderous and suicidal. Diana is bringing back the Amazons’ lost brothers (more on that later) and Dessa argues forcefully against this. But instead of being a rational character with a valid point to make, she kidnaps Zeke and tries to throw him off a cliff as a sacrifice, and then throws herself off the cliff when Wonder Woman saves Zeke. It’s awful that the only voice standing up for what the Amazons have always been, ie. female strength and power, is presented as crazy and unbalanced.

Third, men are coming to Paradise Island. I don’t even know what to call them. Bromazons? Manazons? I like Manazons. The Manazons, who the Amazons traded to Hephaestus for weapons, are coming back to Paradise Island. The book doesn’t say whether they’re back for good or just for the war against the First Born, but either way, there will be men on the island. This is just stupid. The entire point of the Amazons is that they’re women who were fed up with patriarchal society so they created their own. They are a rebellious group who want nothing to do with the world of men. Bringing in boatloads of men goes against this entirely.

Furthermore, the return of the Manazons is presented as some type of atonement for the sins of the Amazons, what with their raping and murdering and abandoning of babies and such. So here’s what happened: Azzarello fundamentally changed the history of the Amazons, turning them into monsters, and decided that the remedy for that was to further fundamentally change the nature of the Amazons by undoing the very principles of their foundation. Essentially, he ruined the Amazons so he could further ruin the Amazons by making them co-ed. This is also stupid. We’ve got thirty issues of the Amazons being unpleasant people who do terrible things, just so we can bring some boys to the island? It’s ridiculous. Besmirching the Amazons to undo the defining tenet of the Amazons displays such a massive lack of understanding or appreciation for what the Amazons have meant to the DC Comics universe for 75 years.

And here’s the thing: The Amazons don’t have to be perfect. They were often presented as such over the decades, but there were lots of problems to explore. There’s a notion of superiority through purity at their core that’s not so cool when you dig into it, along with isolationism and disregard for the rest of the world. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with fleshing out the Amazons, adding some contrary opinions and attitudes and making them a less harmonious bunch. There’s lots to explore in lots of ways, but this complete 180 degree turn we’ve gotten from the New 52 that undoes EVERYTHING fundamental about the Amazons strikes me as the absolute wrong way to go about it. They could’ve easily made the Amazons more human, but instead they made them monsters, and all in the service of adding more men to the mix. It completely boggles my mind.

So yeah, this issue really bothered me. Plus, nothing happened; the story just inched along glacially. The last issue ended with the Amazons revving up to face the First Born, and so did this one. If the Amazons don’t actually fight the First Born at some point next month, I’m going to be annoyed. Or rather, more annoyed than I usually am when Azzarello writes the Amazons.

Wonder Woman #31 Preview OR No Boys Allowed

May 21, 2014

Maybe I should have gone with “All Hell Breaks Loose” for the title of this post, since the dead have all escaped Hades now that the First Born appears to have, somewhat ironically, killed the god of the underworld. If it’s a relevant plot point, perhaps I’ll use that for my review of the issue, which should be up tomorrow. Anyway, things are getting crazy! Let’s see what’s going on in Wonder Woman #31, in this preview from Buzzfeed:







First off, like the title I did use says, the boys are on the outs. Hermes and Dionysus are sitting in a restaurant in London, unwelcome on Paradise Island where Wonder Woman is assembling her Amazon army to take down the First Born. Hermes is particularly put out by the misandry of it all; maybe he should trade his blue hat for a fedora. If there’s a scene where Wonder Woman tells him men aren’t allowed on Paradise Island and he responds “Not all men,” this issue will go down as the dudebro comic of the year.

Also, souls are floating around everywhere, but only the gods seem to notice. That’s a bad sign for Hades, and it looks like the First Born killed him at the end of the last issue. Gods are dropping like flies now.

Back on Paradise Island, Wonder Woman is rallying the troops in a somewhat dictatorial fashion. Remember when the Amazons trusted their queen implicitly and followed her wherever she led them because they were a society based on mutual respect and love? Good times. Now, not so much with the trust and respect. It looks like Wonder Woman’s convinced at least one of the Amazons, though, so that’s a start. It wouldn’t surprise me if Aleka challenged Diana again before the attack on the First Born is launched, but perhaps she’ll fall in line. To find out, I guess we’ll have to read the issue.

This will be easy to do, because it’s out today, online and in comic shops everywhere. Check it out, and enjoy the build up to what should be an epic final battle.

Wonder Woman #29 Review OR Game Of Thrones With The Greek Pantheon

March 20, 2014


The queen’s jerk of a son is on the throne.  There are siblings with incestuous leanings.  A displeased relative has raised an army to try to overthrow the false king.  Wonder Woman is totally Game of Thrones at this point, and I am all for it.  Things are definitely escalating as we enter the final act of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s run, and I’m really enjoying how everything is coming together.  Let’s chat about it, but first:


I’m going to tell you ALL OF THE THINGS that happened in this issue!

No more Game of Thrones talk though, so don’t worry about spoilers there!

But there are Wonder Woman spoilers galore!

We got some confirmation on things we suspected at the end of last issue, namely that Apollo is dead (or as dead as a Greek god can be; I assume another creative team will bring him back down the road at some point) and that the First Born is the king of Olympus now.  We also got answers to questions raised by the preview we saw last Friday: Wonder Woman is the one who saved Cassandra’s ship, and Hera got her powers back in full.

So Olympus is decimated, and sort of gross looking.  Olympus continues to conform to the personality of its ruler, and with the First Born we get an organic, mangled mess of flesh and bone growing on top of the collapsed skyscraper.  As expected, the First Born is a cruel ruler.  He’s not even nice to Cassandra, who has been such a huge help to him since he escaped his imprisonment.  Artemis and Wonder Woman were nearly killed before Hera showed up to teleport them out of dodge.

Hera’s triumphant return to Olympus as a fully powered deity was a great redemptive moment for the character, and something that the series has been building to for some time.  Hera was the villain of the book when Wonder Woman #1 premiered, and remained the primary antagonist for most of the first arc.  Now she’s a full-fledged ally of Wonder Woman, and pals with the woman whose baby she tried so hard to kill.

We saw growth in Hera in two ways.  The first is obvious, her turning from a bad guy to a good guy because of the kindness shown to her by Wonder Woman when she was depowered.  This issue cleverly turned around a trope that I’ve felt was overused in past issues of this run, whereby Wonder Woman gets herself in over her head and someone else has to swoop in and save her.  Here, the First Born was sucking the life out of Wonder Woman and Hera did swoop in to save her, but it felt earned.  Hera is a hero now because of Wonder Woman’s positive influence; Hera saved Wonder Woman, but it was Wonder Woman who originally saved Hera.

The second area of growth is simpler, but meaningful.  After Hera lost her powers, she became a joke.  She and Zola were the book’s comic relief, hapless women protected by Wonder Woman who had little to do but order room service and go to bars.  There were issues where they totally stole the book with great, amusing moments, but they were also female characters who were cast in the age old damsel in distress role.  Zola’s broken out of that mold in recent issues; her going after Dionysus was an enormously brave and moving moment.  Now Hera has transcended her comedic role as well and has emerged as a hero.  She’s still hilarious, to be sure; this moment was great:


But Hera’s not ONLY comic relief anymore, and that’s great to see.  Villain to joke to hero is a rare transition, and one that’s been pulled off very well by Azzarello and Chiang.

Hera’s rebirth as a heroic goddess resulted in the book’s biggest revelation, which fans have spent the past couple of years waiting for: The Amazons are back!  Now, those of us who are at all familiar with comic books knew that they’d be back at some point.  We’ve been through several Amazon genocides now, and lo and behold they always return.  No one ever stays dead in a comic book.  Nonetheless, it’s lovely to have them back.

Also, Wonder Woman taking charge of the Amazons was a nice moment as well, given that there seemed to be some animosity towards her from some of her sisters when the series began.  I was a little surprised that we didn’t see anything with Hippolyta, but I’m betting that her reunion with Diana will be the opening scene of the next issue.

As much as I’m glad that the Amazons are back, though, I don’t think that their return excuses their absence.  They’ve been out of commission for most of the series, just to give Hera a nice moment and to supply Wonder Woman with an army (assuming that this all was Azzarello and Chiang’s plan from the get-go; who knows, they may have brought them back on a lark).  That doesn’t strike me as a good enough reason to cast aside such a key part of Wonder Woman’s mythos, especially when their removal was paired with a constant undermining of their legacy and feminist power.  The whole raping and murdering sailors situation has left quite a black mark on the Amazons, plus now Wonder Woman’s abilities are the result of her divine father and her male mentor instead of her Amazon heritage.  It’s wonderful that the Amazons are back, but the book has done a great deal of damage to them in their absence.

That being said, Azzarello and Chiang have done an excellent job rehabilitating Hera over the course of their run, so I’m curious to see if they can rehabilitate the Amazons before their tenure is over.  They’ve already got a lot of balls in the air, storywise, and there’s a lot of damage to be undone, so I’m not particularly optimistic.  It’ll take more than a big victory against the First Born to repair their tarnished image; that would hardly make up for centuries of rape and murder.  I’m hoping Azzarello and Chiang have a plan for walking that back, but again, I’m not optimistic.

Qualms about the Amazons aside, this was a very solid issue and everything is developing at an exciting pace.  I’m very pleased to see that Wonder Woman’s team has remained intact and that she hasn’t had the rug pulled out from under her in several issues.  I may not be optimistic about the Amazons, but it feels like this run is going to end well for Wonder Woman herself as she comes into her own and takes control of her destiny.  The action is definitely going to escalate in the issues to come, and I’m curious and excited to see how it all turns out.

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