After last issue’s harrowing escape from the dreaded First Born, Wonder Woman and company arrive at Orion’s home planet of New Genesis! But will Highfather roll out the welcome mat or greet our heroes with guns drawn? Check out the review below to find out!
The moment fans have been waiting for: the New 52 appearance of Jack Kirby’s classic characters the “New Gods” and their homeworld New Genesis. Back in the 1970s, Jack Kirby, famous creator of Marvel’s Captain America, Fantastic Four, and The Avengers, envisioned a more alternate series of comics, ones that were finite and could be collected into what are today known as “graphic novels” or “trade paperbacks.” Unhappy with Marvel at the time, Kirby went to DC and created what would collectively become known as “The Fourth World” – introducing such popular characters as Darkseid, Highfather, Mister Miracle, and Orion. These fantastical characters were embraced by comic book fans and were eventually fully incorporated into the main DC Universe, even playing pivotal roles in big DC events such as Grant Morrison’s JLA and Final Crisis.
Artist Cliff Chiang and Colorist Matthew Wilson really deliver here, from the lush greens of the ruined planet surface, to the warm reds of Supertown floating high above the ruins, to the cold blues of Highfather’s electronic-filled chambers. Everything in this book really pops beautifully. Cliff Chiang knocks another one out of the park, though regular readers of Wonder Woman should expect no less at this point.
Brian Azzarello weaves an interesting dichotomy here, finally delving into Orion’s character by letting us a glimpse into what his “home life” must be like. Highfather is a hard ass in every sense of the word. Constantly deriding his son, it is fairly easy to see how Orion has turned out the way he has. This insight into the character is very much welcomed and should help ease any fan’s lingering doubts about his boisterous behavior towards Diana.
Even though he seems a bit insufferable, it is hard not to like Highfather, especially in his interactions with Queen Hera and Diana. He clearly holds great respect for a system of matriarchy: he refers to Hera by her rightful title of “Queen” and compliments Diana on her “great mind.” Still, he has a kingdom to protect and the Source has told him that Zola’s baby Zeke will bring about destruction, so when he moves to apprehend the child, one can hardly be surprised. And yet, the book ends with a touch of ambiguity on Highfather’s relationship with Orion. Perhaps all is not as black and white as it would seem. Hopefully Azzarello will expand on this relationship more in future issues.
After leaving New Genesis, our rag tag gang return to a London in ruins, thanks to the evil machinations of the First Born. A big battle looms, with an unexpected ally making a stand with Wonder Woman and gang. Azzarello has been great at building tension in this series and keeping the story moving, while at the same time not sapping the tale of forward momentum. Rarely does the title, this issue included, feel like it is treading water, and Azzarello’s writing is commendable for such a feat.
It is hard not to feel like an opportunity was missed not introducing more “Fourth World” characters here. That being said, the character work that Azzarello does have, Orion’s interactions with Highfather, Highfather’s interactions with Diana, Diana’s interactions with Orion, is very well done. And with a cast as large as Wonder Woman’s it might be a bit much to introduce the entirety of the “New Gods” so soon. The time on New Genesis is short, but there is a battle back on Earth to fight.
The next topic has very little to do with this issue specifically and more to do with DC Comic’s handling of the character of Wonder Woman. As some of you may now, the Trinity War has been raging in other parts of the DCU, continuing in this weeks release of Justice League of America #6 (review coming soon courtesy of Jay Mattson!). Without going into too much detail, it is safe to say that the character that Geoff Johns is writing and the character that Brian Azzarello is writing seem at times to be almost two different people. See the below examples:
This would hardly be a topic of discussion were both of these books not released on the same day, featuring characters crossing over from one title to the next. Granted both Johns and Azzarello are telling very different stories and every writer is open to their own interpretation of a character and their motivations, but the difference is so incongruous that it feels almost entirely out of character. Even when greeted with betrayal in the very issue released today, Diana does not treat the betrayer as unkind as she treats Hephaestus in the above image. And though Wonder Woman has certainly lost her temper at times, Brian Azzarello seems to understand that wanton violence against her own family is an absolute last resort of the character. One can only hope in the future that the two depictions of the character are more in line.
With the introduction of New Genesis, Brian Azzarello crafts another amazing entry into the Wonder Woman mythos with the promise of future greatness to come.