Being a Wonder Woman devotee generally, I was so glad when she was given a bang-up creative team for the New 52. While the big change to the Amazons’ origin is still a bit of a blow for me, Brian Azzarello is selling the hell (the Hades?) out of Diana’s new-and-maybe-improved family. For mythology dorks this book is a godsend; every issue broadens the scope, from the bare beginnings of Hermes to Lennox, Milan, and other of Zeus’ illegitimate children, to the arrival of the New Gods’ vanguard Orion, and the slinky God of Wine dishing nasty gossip in a bar. In the process, Azzarello has managed to make Diana’s new origin–another point I found distasteful–the crux of multiple issues, instead of a minor facet of her backstory. Azzarello goes for the heart: his Diana is well aware of her origins now and all that they entail. If there’s one quibble I have with the title so far, it’s a certain lack of viewpoint. Normally I”m not one to complain about no internal monologuing, but so far Diana is opaque, with these matters coming out only in snips of dialogue. Most solo titles feature a good amount of sight into the title character’s psyche, but for now it seems Azzarello is working to let Diana’s actions speak for themselves.
Issue #16 is laced with updates on the eternal truth of the Greek gods–that they were a petty bunch, full of family squabbles and affairs–as well as nods to the roots the book is pulling from. With so many characters converging, including Heracles from the ice of Antarctica, my favorite girl Strife, and War, relishing the thought of his coming battles, “Demi-Nation” will be an event to remember. Cliff Chiang is one of DC’s greatest and though I’ve also enjoyed Tony Akins‘ work on Wonder Woman, a Chiang-drawn issue is always a delight. Together with Matthew Wilson’s colors, the art of #16 swerves between the bright blood and ice of Heracles’ epic subzero battle, the dank New York underground, and the sultry warmth of a high-rise bar. Chiang’s action scenes are great, but he also aces the subtlety and power plays of Hera, Ares, and Zola’s scenes together. Between a top-notch art team and smart, tight writing, Wonder Woman is continually a great title from DC and issue #16 knocked it out of the park.