Villains Month wraps up this week and with it comes the second Wonder Woman tie-in, First Born! I reviewed Cheetah last week (which you can check out here).
So how does First Born compare?
Check out the review below to find out!
Perhaps my headline is a little too harsh, because in truth, this isn’t really a bad issue. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t do very much.
Series scribe Brian Azzarello pens this one (with art by Aco) and does an admirable job fleshing out First Born’s history up until this point. The framing of the story is interesting, featuring a return of Moon and his ability to make oracles out of any gaggle of awestruck women he comes across.
This issue does continue after the events of Wonder Woman #23 but does not in any way tie into Forever Evil. While I would not call it essential reading, since it is technically a continuation, it would not be a bad idea to track this issue down if you are reading the regular series to completion. It features a badly beaten, bruised, and bloody First Born, who is mostly comatose for the majority of the tale. This is essentially an origin story and as such, it succeeds in that respect.
The art by Aco is quite well done. It is very reminiscent of Cliff Chiang, to the point that I found myself wondering why Chiang didn’t just do the art himself (though I suppose everyone needs a break now and again). That is not a dig at Aco, however, as his work here fully captures the epic scope of Gods doing battle. I look forward to seeing more of his work in the future.
The issue just isn’t that interesting. Perhaps it’s First Born fatigue, or Villains Month fatigue, or maybe Brian Azzarello wasn’t really into it – but this issue does not meet the standard of quality experienced month in and out in his regular series.
Yes, we learn of First Born’s origin, but it isn’t especially unique or interesting. He’s basically an angry kid with abandonment issues. And the powers of a God. The origin is so basic that it could’ve been comfortably told in a regular WW issue, along with other plot developments.
The narrative device used is fine, but I personally had a hard time with the dialects used by the Oracle narrators. Dialect in comics is a tough business and, unfortunately, I think it fails here, proving to be more a distraction than accompaniment.
Fans of Wonder Woman have already had to deal with a lack of development of her rogue’s gallery in the New 52 Universe. Villain’s Month would’ve been a perfect opportunity to develop these characters further (case in point: Cheetah).
Instead of reading about First Born yet again, why not do an issue on Doctor Psycho, who was just introduced in last month’s Trinity War event? Or develop Ares further as a coda to the character’s very recent demise? Other Villain’s Month tie-ins took the opportunity to introduce and flesh out previously unseen characters, such as Doomsday, Cyborg Superman, Joker’s Daughter, etc. Unfortunately this is not one of them, which puts the onus on the issue to be better than it ends up being.
Brian Azzarello and Aco put out a serviceable, if not very stimulating Villains Month tie-in issue. Next month should be much better, however, so be on the look out for Wonder Woman #24 in October!