Wonder Woman and company face off against the vicious might of the First Born! How do they fare? Find out below!
At the end of the last issue of Wonder Woman, Cassandra and the First Born confronted our heroes while Wonder Woman duked it out with a revenge-seeking Artemis. Having seen the horror that the First Born is capable of (he did eat some brains in his very first appearance back in Issue #13) the tension of this scene was quite palpable. Added to that the revealed connection between Cassandra and Lennox and Brian Azzarello has set the stakes pretty high for this issue. Does it pay off?
In short, the wait has been worth it. Wonder Woman #21 is filled to the brim with action. Big, exciting, summer blockbuster action. This is the match up readers have been waiting to see for a while now and it does not disappoint. Still scarred from her battle with Artemis, Wonder Woman rushes in to assist Lennox in fighting off the First Born. It is the Man Made of Stone and the Princess of Paradise Island trading blows with the hulking monster determined to destroy the Heavens.
Making a very sudden and triumphant return is Orion (who hightailed it after having his…manhood…embarrassed back in Issue #19). He and Diana exchange some witty banter before bidding a hasty escape, clearly overpowered by their foe. The First Born won’t be bested so easily, it would seem, and, in a truly terrifying moment, rips open Orion’s portal in an attempt to follow. [spoiler] In a heart wrenching scene, Lennox sacrifices himself in order to give the Wonder Gang time to escape. With a touching goodbye kiss to baby Zeke, Lennox flings himself at the enraged First Born and the portal closes.[/spoiler]
Hardly a moments respite is given, however, as Orion and Diana are now face to face with the Highfather on New Genesis! The action in these scenes is clear, concise, and exciting. The stakes are high and the reader feels it with every blow.
It’s not all action, however, as Brian Azzarello gives the reader plenty of character development in between fisticuffs. Light is shed on more of Cassandra’s back-story as well as baby Zeke’s powers. Queen Hera also realizes just how powerless she has become. That is another strength of this series: characterization. Each character is given ample time to grow, change, and to project their own unique voice. Whether it’s Hera’s dwindling nobility, Lennox’s street-savvy, tough-guy-with-a-heart-of-gold-attitude (yes, in this issue, he is singing the chant of the infamous South London Millwall Football Club), or Diana’s altruistic yet stubborn desire to help everyone, each character stands on his or her own as an important part of the overall story.
Cliff Chiang’s art shines in this issue. The level of detail is impressive, as both Wonder Woman and the First Born exhibit cuts and bruises from recent battles. Even though he is masked, Chiang’s line work lets you know exactly when Orion is overwhelmed with berserker rage. He is the sole artist on this issue and as wonderful a job as Goran Sudžuka and Tony Akins have done at keeping the book consistent, it’s a joy to have a full issue of Chiang’s art. Colorist Matthew Wilson keeps the book vibrant and exciting, from the cool blues of Zeke’s God Child eyes to the hot reds and oranges of Orion’s portal, his coloring complements Chiang’s artwork exceptionally.
It’s tough to remain objective when a book is this solid all around. The action is well paced and interspersed with interesting character interaction and development and the visuals are some of the most pleasing you’ll find on the comic book stands these days. No negatives to report here.
Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang deliver another amazing issue of Wonder Woman. If you’re not reading this title, you should be.