Cliff Chiang returns to the pages of Wonder Woman, and at the same time, a lot of the plotlines pick up speed. It’s almost as if Azzarello is saving the big developments for the main artist. Quite a lot of stuff happens in this issue, as after a few issues that were disappointingly slow, everything explodes nicely and this book shows just how good it can be, so let’s get to it.
Throughout the issue we see more of Apollo’s torturing of The First Born, which, while thankfully not as creepy as in previous issues, was still pretty dark. Apollo is still trying to get First Born to join his side and swear fealty, but he refuses, and in the end, First Born finally breaks free of his shackles and attacks. I can’t wait to see how brutal that fight is going to be.
As for Wonder Woman, after an emotional return to Themyscira to talk to the statue of her mother, she’s back on the hunt for Zola and Zeke, and I do mean hunt. After another very well-written scene featuring Hera (I love how Azzarello has developed Hera throughout this series, just fantastic character work), Diana goes off to Russia to as Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, for her help to track down her missing friend. To do this, she has to fight Artemis again, and this time, Artemis is in the form of a giant fucking bear, which is kind of awesome. Wonder Woman fights the giant bear, and surprisingly, is forced to submit. Artemis agrees to help find Zola, but only if Wonder Woman agrees to do her a favour in the future. I was surprised that Wonder Woman lost this fight, but from the sneaky smile on her face, it looks like she has a deeper plan up her sleeve.
Also on the hunt for Zola is Cassandra, but where on Earth is she? Well, she’s in Provence with Dionysus, and for a while, she seems to be happy, and able to talk to someone. Then, some of Dio’s ‘friends’ show up, and they go on a Truffle hunt in the woods. Whilst wandering through the woods, Dionysus’ friends start suddenly getting horny and taking off their clothes. Freaked out by the prospect of being forced into an orgy, Zola tries to run away, but before she can, she sees that this isn’t an orgy, Dionysus is just turning these poor people into pigs to hunt for truffles.
This was a gloriously fucked-up scene, perfectly drawn by Chiang, who really is just fantastic, I can’t praise him enough, and even though the fill-ins are good, when he returns, it just lives everything up a notch. The fucked up pig transformations send Zola running off into the woods, where she runs straight into Cassandra’s ship, and we see that she’s got a Minotaur to help her. Oh yes.
It looks like quite a lot of characters are going to converge in these woods, with Wonder Woman and Artemis soon to arrive to face Cassandra and her Minotaur, and with Dio around, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Apollo/First Born fight ends up there too. This book is never less than good, but with this issue, it took another step above that. If you read only one DC book, it should probably be this one.