WONDER WOMAN #32 (Brian Azzarello & Goran Sudzuka) puts us one step closer to the coming war with The First Born.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Wonder Woman since I’ve started reading it, low points and all. There’s something to be said about a book that’s been, if nothing else, consistent since the start of The New 52. Maybe that consistency is a mark of how WONDER WOMAN almost exists in its own continuity. There is little talk of other superheroes besides Orion, but being a stranger to the rest of The New 52 canon isn’t something I’d hold against it.
Brian Azzarello’s been working the war with the gods angle since he started on WONDER WOMAN, and as the story is starting to come to a head, I wonder if he’ll seek to extend it or if he’ll look to do something different afterwards. It’s a story that certainly could have room to go places, even after whatever conclusion it reaches. What I mean is that it’s going to be something that changes the world Wonder Woman is a part of, and might even have a chance of affecting the larger DC Universe.
A DC writer recently announced in a candid interview that somehow, the pre New 52 universe does indeed exist. I wonder, then, what classic Diana would think of Diana here, who introduced “The Sons of Themyscira” back onto Paradise Island, who’s a little less adult and a lot more hot-headed about the ways she makes decisions.
Brian Azzarello is one of the best DC writers when it comes to pacing a larger story. Sure, the longer parts of this story have been inundated with over-explaining but it’s never so bad as an issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE. In WONDER WOMAN #32 we get a good smattering of characters and where they’re all at right now – which is going to be incredibly important later when this whole war thing comes to a head.
There’s so much despair in this book that it’s giving more credence and agency to Diana’s struggles, and the struggles of the rest of our cast on the side of good. While we may not always understand some of the Gods morality; it’s became clear over the last few issue’s who we can trust and who we can’t.
Azzarello knows that for us to feel the stakes with these characters are set reasonably high, we need to have spent time with them.
Letting us spend time with the cast works for WONDER WOMAN because there’s not really a single uninteresting character in the whole lot.
Nothing gives credence to the battles between gods like Goran Sudzuka’s art, either. We’ve gotten a lot of weird environments in WONDER WOMAN so far, but I think Olympus imagined as a giant tumorous growth of flesh takes the cake for just being ultra bizarre yet completely fitting The First Born holding the throne. Between him and Cliff Chiang, Wonder Woman, along with Batwoman and The Flash sits high on the list of series’ with
their own defined art styles. The two artists that have graced the pages of WONDER WOMAN are going to leave big shoes to fill, and it’s going to be interesting to see how a lack of their styles changes the way we view the story.
In previous reviews I lamented that sometimes Azzarello hasn’t given moments enough time to really settle in and let the drama take hold. Things have had a tendency to rally from one dramatic plot point to the other. Though Azzarello’s pacing of a larger story has been fantastic, it’s his pacing when it comes to individual details that’s been a problem.
You only see a little of that in WONDER WOMAN #32. I knew Azzarello had it in him, and I’m certainly glad to see more effective pacing and storytelling going on.
Really, if there’s anything to be held against WONDER WOMAN #32 it’s that in a book that’s been so great about Wonder Woman as a character; having Orion show up at the end of this issue when things look bad for her is a weird decision.
I mean, I love all of The New Gods and I think Orion being a crass, immature oaf as a contrast to Wonder Woman has worked for this book, but does that mean I’m ready to see Orion jump in and save Wonder Woman? You can kind of take that as another reason that this book exists on the fringes of the rest of the DCU. If you have Superman suddenly show up to start fixing things, Wonder Woman as a character becomes cheapened and it becomes another story where men will always show up and ‘show’ women how to do things ‘right’. I don’t want Orion to be that character; I don’t want anyone to be that character.
You know that when the biggest issues a story faces are all pretty much related to subtext and story design that it’s begun to get a little more on the mark.
WONDER WOMAN #32 is like sitting at the screen fade of a movie, and being unsure if the credits are about to roll or if it’s about to give you what you paid $8.50 at the ticket window to see.
I’d also like to note that that issue of characters’ agency has also been sitting at the back of my mind during my reviews of WORLDS’ FINEST. Though, each series has its own, interesting take on the matter. WORLDS’ FINEST simply avoids introducing any men that are on the same level as Power Girl and Huntress – even Batman himself is relegated to a guest appearance (which isn’t a problem) whereas WONDER WOMAN has tried to put Wonder Woman and everyone else on an even plane, and let the characters actions determine the rest.