Wonder Woman 12
A New King, a Close Betrayal…and a Brave New World Approaching?
I have spent way too much money on comics this week, and it’s only Monday. Despite my numerous promises and edicts against it, I found myself shelling out for not only the Walking Dead #101 Ghost Variant (I just HAD to have it!), but also ALL 6 of the upcoming Decade variant covers for Amazing Spider-Man #692. Walking Dead and ASM are both titles which I collect and variants is the name of the game in collecting these days, so…there goes my rent, I suppose. But I’m not here to talk to you about that. I’m here to talk to you about Wonder Woman.
I put Azzarello and Chiang’s Wonder Woman on the same shelf with Swamp Thing and Animal Man as one of the best titles of the New 52. Not only has it paired up an amazing creative team, but it reinvents Wonder Woman in a way that makes her more bad-ass than before without sacrificing the elements that made her iconic in the first place. It doesn’t feel as if her pre-Flashpoint continuity has been forsaken; the adventure feels fresh and new.
What I respect most about Wonder Woman is the plot. Here we are a year into the run, and Azzarello is still telling the same story which he started with in issue 1. The plot has been tight and engrossing, the development of the Pantheon’s personalities has been spot on, and issue 12 leaves us with not one, but TWO intense cliffhangers: one which propels our heroine into the next phase in her own narrative, and the other which will surely resonate throughout the DCU. We’ll deal with both cliffhangers here in that order.
Firstly, issue 12 sees Apollo claiming the throne of Zeus and remodeling the archaic Mount Olympus into a modern, glass-and-steel monolith. Secondly, Zola goes into long-awaited labor and gives birth to the newest heir to Olympus. And thirdly, Wonder Woman is betrayed by the person who has been closest to her throughout the series thus far. Perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised, however, for as Azzarello writes: “What do you expect from the god of thieves?”
Yes, Wonder Woman comes out of a duel with Artemis – in which some awesome god-like powers manifest in our Amazon warrior – only to realize that Hermes has betrayed her and made off with Zola’s newborn…and delivered it into the arms of Demeter! Anyone with an elementary school grasp of Greek myth knows that Demeter, the Goddess of Harvest and Agriculture, all but lost her beloved daughter Persephone to Hades. With Hades having sought the hand of Wonder Woman earlier in this arc, what role could Zola’s child play in this romantic quadrangle? Needless to say, I think a return to Hell is in order for our heroine in the upcoming issues.
The OTHER cliffhanger of issue 12 – the one that has had fanboy forums buzzing ever since publication – is four panels on the very last page:
Diehards will immediately recognize the characteristic helmet, if the huge BOOOOM doesn’t give it away. We are seeing the return of Orion and, with him, perhaps the rest of the New Gods!
The New Gods first appeared in 1971 as the creation of comics legend Jack Kirby. Denizens of the planet New Genesis, the main New Gods are Orion, Big Barda, and Mister Miracle. New 52 titles Justice League and Earth 2 have already seen the universe of the New Gods explored in the characters of Darkseid and Steppenwolf. Inhabitants of the villainous planet Apokolips, Darkseid and Steppenwolf are themselves New Gods – albeit of the evil variety. Could it be that the fall of the Olympian gods has given rise to the pantheon of New Gods? We’ll see, but with Orion around, things are certainly going to get more interesting.
Next month, we’ll (hopefully) return to Paradise Island for a look at Wonder Woman’s formative years as Diana of Themyscira, and maybe a glimpse of her oft-mentioned romance with Justice League’s Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman #0. After that, the Rise of the New Gods (?) in #13.