Moon returns for revenge. Plus, our heroes come face to face with the First Born!
Brian Azzarello continues his slow burn with the action-packed Wonder Woman #20. If you’ve been waiting for a rematch between Diana and Artemis (after Wonder Woman’s “God Mode” unleashed in issue #12) then wait no more, as this issue really showcases Diana’s prowess as a fighter and a strategist. Longtime Wonder Woman fans will especially enjoy this issue, as we get to see the character fly, as well as use her Lasso of Truth in some truly creative (and destructive) ways.
It’s not all fisticuffs, however, as we also get some great hints at Lennox’s grim backstory – and his relationship with the First Born’s mysterious companion Cassandra. Speaking of the First Born, he finally comes face to face with our primary characters, setting up a sure to be epic battle next issue. Another prominent theme here is one of loyalty, specifically with regards to Ares. Is a possible betrayal in the works? You can tell that Azzarello is planting a lot of seeds for future plotlines here.
Another interesting theme raised in this issue is that of the true scope of Wonder Woman’s powers. During the battle, Artemis goads Diana, trying to get her to fight with her “full power” – a tactic that fails. One constant theme in this book is Diana’s reluctant acceptance of her newfound demi-God heritage. We’ve already seen glimpses of her potential powers, what would happen if she were to fully embrace her quite-literally “God given” abilities?
The breakdowns in this issue were done by series regular Cliff Chiang, while sharing artistic duties with Goran Sudzuka. Having two different artists on one book can be distracting at times, but not here, as Sudzuka does a fantastic job emulating Chiang to the point that you really have to look hard to notice the differences.
When a book is this good, it’s hard to think of many negatives. One of the more common complaints with the New 52 Wonder Woman is that it tends to favor the secondary characters, sometimes making Diana seem like a supporting character in her own book. While I can see the validity in this argument, it’s hard to be upset at Azzarello when the secondary characters are as well developed as they are here. Their dialogue is snappy and realistic. They feel like the dysfunctional family they should be.
Azzarello’s consistently good storytelling continues here, with promises of big things to come.