"Wonder Woman" is such a tough sell of a comic, despite being one of DC Comics' "trinity" of characters. Maybe it's because the idea of "ambassador to man's world" isn't as instant a grab as "guardian of the night" or "the last son of Krypton," but for whatever reason, iconic takes on "Wonder Woman" are few and far between.
I know it's a little early to point toward this run and declare it to be iconic. After all, no one knows for certain how long Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang will be on board the title. But two issues in? I find myself wishing that all "Wonder Woman" comics followed this template from now on, and that the quality remained this high.
In this new issue, we get to see Azzarello and Chiang's take on Paradise Island, which is a combination of the familiar and the creepy. Whispers echo out of the forests before any Amazons appear, and this rendition of the warrior women is less gleaming steel and more thick, heavy armor. It makes them come across stronger than before, and also has Wonder Woman stand apart from them visually. Her sleek, shiny outfit is a direct contrast to the dull colors on the other Amazon's armor, and even Queen Hippolyta has reverted to her old blonde haired look, removing her old identical look to her daughter.
It's the reinterpretation of the goddess Eris that remains the most striking to me, though. With her buzzed hair, deep purple skin, and cavernous eyes, she might look weak and innocent at a glance, but comes across dangerous and terrifying. Azzarello builds up Eris' arrival on Paradise Island throughout the issue, and when she finally appears it doesn't disappoint.
Wonder Woman herself is still a bit of a cipher, but her personality is starting to shine through. Likewise, we're getting glimpses of Zola's personality to be more than just victim, and I appreciated that Azzarello makes Zola someone who is a sexual person without coming across as slutty, or weak, or in any way negative. It's presented in a matter-of-fact manner that comes across in an adult manner, but also in a non-graphic way. In other words, just right. I'm looking forward to learning more about Zola in the issues to come, mind you, but this is a good start.
Chiang's art brings Azzarello's script to life so much it's hard to imagine anyone else having kicked off the series so well. In the two-page spread where Wonder Woman and Aleka duel, he fits 20 panels onto the pages, and in a way that not only brings the action across in a smooth manner but also never feels cramped. And oh, that pout on Hera's face... just perfect. So much anger and haughtiness and betrayal all crammed into a single image.
"Wonder Woman," two issues in, is easily one of my favorite comics right now. Azzarello and Chiang have made "Wonder Woman" must-read material, and that's exactly how such an important character should be handled. Highly recommended.