Wonder Woman 13
The slow road to the New Gods
I love Wonder Woman. I think, month in and month out, Azzarello is producing one of the most original and most well-written titles of the New 52 (I say “New,” but its hardly new anymore, is it?). Coming off of the FANTASTIC issue 0 (a tribute to W. Marston’s WW), we return to Olympus for the beginning of Wonder Woman’s second year.
And what a beginning it is. The first three pages pick up the cliff-hanger from WW 12, where we saw what virtually everyone in the world (including yours truly) speculated was Orion: the blood-spattered, war-crazed New God from Apokolips. Here we find him calling himself “the First Born,” which is somehow blood-chilling enough…and then he bites off the top of a dude’s skull. And eats his brain. And did I mention that he’s about the size of a house?
Once those three pages end, however, Orion stalks out of the scene and out of the book, Azzarello turning the action over to the political intrigue of Apollo’s shiny, new, metropolitan Olympus and the growing desperation of the Wonder Woman gang. The plot here is slow and thick as molasses, but I think that Azzarello is building to something here and we’ll all bask in the glory of the payoff when it comes.
I believe the reason that Wonder Woman is one of the best of the New 52 for me is this long-haul approach to the story. My favorite titles of this first year — Snyder’s Batman and Swamp Thing, Lemire’s Animal Man, and Azzarello’s Wonder Woman among others that escape me at the moment — have all avoided the 6-issue arc paradigm of other titles (Justice League, for example) and invested in deeper, more-involved arcs that have been going on since issue 1. Wonder Woman is still protecting Zola and her baby, still dealing with the Olympians, and the stakes are only getting higher.
I believe that the very editorially-driven nature of the New 52 keeps tighter restraint on the flagship titles — like Justice League — keeping them from these deeper, more involved arcs, which allows the less-mainstream titles of the New 52 to shine all the brighter.