REVIEW: Wonder Woman #23: War
This is it – the epic battle that’s been teased all year: Wonder Woman versus First Born – a battle to the death. But whose? Find out below and be warned, these waters are about to get SPOILERY. Enter at your own peril.
Brian Azzarello, you devil, even after 22 issues of constant quality you still manage to surprise. After Ares sudden and surprise siding with our heroes at the end of issue #22, who could have guessed the full extent of the powers he would bring to bear?
War is definitely the standout character in this issue – and Azzarello appears to know that, as he relishes giving him the spotlight. From [spoiler]summoning up an undead army of warriors centuries old, to the characters brutal, yet fitting, final stand[/spoiler] it is clear how much respect the writer has for his characters.
Though War does get the king’s share of badassery in this issue, he certainly isn’t the only one. The book isn’t titled “Ares: God of War” after all. The Princess of Paradise Island kicks some serious butt here, even going so far as to shed her gauntlets and embrace her Gods-given powers again. In the end, she learns a valuable lesson about power and corruption – but not before being pushed to the absolute limit.
And the end of the issue will leave fans clamoring to know what will happen next. There has been a lot of talk lately about how differently Diana is being portrayed in various DC titles but her actions in this book, though extreme, are completely in keeping with the story Brian Azzarello has been telling since issue #1.
Comic books these days love to claim how much they’ve “changed the status quo” but this issue delivers. The character of Wonder Woman will not be the same after the events of this battle.
Even with all these developments, Azzarello does not skimp on secondary character development, devoting some much appreciated time to Zola, Zeke, and especially Hera – who is still dealing with her newfound mortality. She shares some truly heartfelt scenes with Zola and baby Zeke that really highlight the character’s growth. Keep in mind while reading this issue that she began this series as vengeful, spurned Queen of the Gods. Azzarello’s writing in this issue is top notch and is not to be missed.
On the art side of things, Cliff Chiang puts in a stellar workload here. With so many characters and so much action mixed with dialogue, it is a wonder that the book doesn’t feel more dense. Yet it moves at a deft pace, never once boring or wordy. Chiang’s panels are clear, concise, and exciting and he is to be commended for consistently turning in such fine work.
None. Except that you’ll have to wait until next month to find out what happens next. Or maybe even two months, thanks to the upcoming Villains Month. Oh man.
This is long form fiction done right. Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang deliver a stellar climax here that is both satisfying and at the same time leaves the reader salivating for more.