(a) Cliff Chiang
** SPOILERS, BECAUSE WHY NOT? **
I love Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman. I could go on and on about how both men have dedicated themselves to this series and how the artwork — at this point — is as much of what makes Wonder Woman as great as the writing, but that would be boring and completely theoretical concerning DC’s editorial decisions and the company’s value on punctuality over quality of product. So we’ll skip that.
This series, overall, has been pushing the boundaries of the idea of divinity in the DC universe, giving the Greek gods a less elegant, more pragmatic look and tone. Even down to the fact that they call themselves by their English names — War instead of Ares, Hell instead of Hades, etc. Deities are as flawed as mortals (just look at most ancient mythology and religious beliefs), and Wonder Woman is very much the natural evolution of that idea, that gods and goddesses walk amongst humans and manipulate their lives on a very personal level.
Wonder Woman #21 is a transition issue from beginning to end. Azzarello has been creeping up to this moment for months; the epic showdown between Zeus’ First Born and Diana’s posse. While the fight itself isn’t incredibly epic, the repercussions are astounding. The ongoing narrative very much feels like it’s reached the end of it’s second act. Act I featured Diana facing off against Hell for the fate of Zola’s baby. Much like Star Wars: A New Hope, Diana tackles an enemy that seems impossible for a cause that’s just and righteous.
Act II has been about the power struggle on Mount Olympus and the coming of Zeus’ First Born child. The Unnamed One is all grown up (well, thousands of years old, actually) and mad as hell that he’s been locked in the center of the planet for a few millennia. Much like The Empire Strikes Back, darkness begins to fall over Diana and her allies with the coming of the New God Orion and his decree that a scion of Zeus would destroy the universe. Oh, and Apollo wrestled control of Olympus from Hera and made her mortal in the process. Things are at an all time low for the gang in Wonder Woman.
Like I said, Wonder Woman #21 is the final part of Act II; Diana faces off against the Firs Born, Orion shows up to lay the smackdown at Diana’s side, and everything changes with the press of a boomtube button. After Orion smuggles Diana, Zola, Hera, and the baby through an interdimensional portal, back to his home of New Genesis, we are left wondering what becomes of the First Born back on Earth. His power is immense, so, to believe that Lennox’s sacrifice to close to boom tube meant the First Born’s death would be premature. Unless Diana can go back, evil will defeat good and the First Born will take control of Olympus.
So I find myself wanting Diana to get back to Earth as quickly as possible to handle her brother. But also NEW GODS!!! Azzarello and Chiang are bringing back Jack Kirby’s New Gods, which is phenomenal, and also means major changes for how deities are portrayed in the DC universe, and how the different pantheons correlate.