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The Return of the New Gods continues within the pages of Wonder Woman as Orion of The New Gods comes face to face with Diana. While last month’s installment might have just presented a small little sampler of what was to come this month gives us the first of the appetizers. The book is taking its precious time in developing and moving forward a variety of plots, which is a good method. There really is a whole lot of different motivation and desires running through the various characters. It is almost “Game of Thrones”-esque in its dynastical double-dealing and stratagem.
This type of slow build up is something to be treasures in these days and not only works to the title’s own benefit but shows the utmost respect for the characters being used within it. Azzarello has gone on record claiming his respect and somewhat reverence for the “King of Comics” Jack Kirby and the Fourth World. So the careful hand that is clearly running over this story is definitely appreciated. One can compare the caution that went into this story and the now infamous New 52 Justice League “Origin” arc and see a clear divide with regards to care.
Orion and the various New God elements that are displayed come off not only enjoyably, but greatly. We get some rather delicious character moments that capture something of the likeness that Kirby and later Orion writer Walter Simonson gave the character. He might marginally be called the “antagonist” of the story so far, but we get signs of a deeper reasoning behind his actions. A highlight of the issue is his interaction with the newly revealed Zeus bastard – Milan. The two have a deeper mystery in their background that is sure to be expanded upon in later installments.
Speaking of interactions there is also the rapidly growing band of misfits that Wonder Woman has cultivated throughout her adventures. One of particular note is Hera, who has gone through a mightily rude awakening with her fall from the status amongst the other gods. The development of her character, coupled with her little scenes with erstwhile mistress Zola, make for an interesting subplot. The question of where such allegiances will lie in the future, and what exactly those actions will mean for the group drive readers on.
Azzarello’s writing in general is as on form as it has ever been. His characteristic penchant for witty dialogue and love for wordplay comes in with full force. Azzarello has several scenes within this issue both subtle and unsubtle, but always carrying a hint of humor within them. Some of his more famous works, such as Dr. 13: Architecture & Mortality are built upon his love of the stuff and the little things that he passes through with regards to Orion and Wonder Woman are a delight. Other than that we are also treated to some more myth-arc building as what exactly the importance of Wonder Woman is and the deeper mystery of her abilities. If one recalls she did exhibit the notable “Kirby Crackle” and that might play a big role later on.
Cliff Chiang is back on art duties with this issue and it is surely appreciated. With an eye for composition and design this month looks spectacular. What especially sticks with oneself is the rendition of a Boom Tube which is perhaps the best way it has ever been put on paper. Overall another solid addition to the grand story that Azzarello seems to be weaving. Things seem set to finally burst open next month and your man in the Boom Tube is certain that fans of Wonder Woman and the Fourth World alike are holding their respective breaths in anticipation.