Azzarello and Chiang’s Wonder Woman has been awesome since #1, but I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that this issue is probably the best yet. All of the various subplots and characters come together atop a ruined Olympus, and the stage is set for an epic last few issues of this run. Don’t get me wrong, I’m annoyed that this team is leaving to be replaced by David Finch, but still, we have a lot more greatness to come.
The issue begins with Hera, in a very funny scene where she tries to decide what to order at the restaurant, before she’s blasted by a strange green orb. After that, it’s time for everyone to make their way to Olympus. Artemis and Hermes see the explosion, and then Artemis senses that her brother is gone. They teleport there, only to have Cassandra’s ship land right on top of them. Wonder Woman managed to keep it going long enough to ensure a safe landing at least.
Once everyone is together (Zola and Zeke wisely stay hidden), Artemis goes after Cassandra, thinking she is the one who killed Apollo, but of course it wasn’t her, it was The First Born. He reveals himself as hideously charred corpse, but he’s claimed the throne of Olympus, and is more powerful than ever. He can send out weird red tendrils that can drain the life-force from people, even Gods. He gets Artemis to death’s door, and with what she thinks is her last breath, she tells Wonder Woman to fulfil their bargain by no longer denying her mantle. First Born rants and raves like a true villain should, but just as he has everyone at his mercy, Hera arrives, and oh yes, she has her power back. That green orb was Apollo’s last act, he restored her to Godhood. I’ve enjoyed seeing Hera struggle with mortality, so I’m sad to see that end, but it had to come to this, and those struggles have changed her, she’s not a villain anymore. She realises that they need an army to defeat her son, so she teleports everyone away to safety, including Zola.
Safety is Paradise Island, and Hera isn’t done with her good deeds, as she revives all of the Amazons to be the Army. Wonder Woman delivers a rousing speech to her fellow Amazons, asking them to fight for her, not because she’s the Princess… but because she is the God Of War. Oh yes, there’s that mantle reclaiming we wanted! I had initially thought that Azzarello had bungled Wonder Woman becoming the new War, but I shouldn’t have done so, he waited until just the right moment, and man, those last few pages were just spine-tinglingly good. I can’t wait for the next issue, and to see how this team will wrap everything up. The Amazons are back, so that’s one big change restored, but what else will happen?
Chiang’s art was of course amazing, it’s getting a bit dull just heaping praise on him, but he’s just that good. All of the momentous events in this issue would mean nothing without a good artist, and he’s better than good. This was the best issue of DC’s best book, I can’t wait to go back and re-read it all when it’s done, it will be a complete story, and I won’t even have to think about Finch at all.