Rating: 4.5/5 – The End of a Great Run by Azzarello and Chiang.
by guest reviewer Kevyn Knox.
Here’s a confession. Wonder Woman is my favorite title of all DC’s New 52. The nearly 3 year run by writer Brian Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang tops even the Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo run on Batman and the Jeff Lemiere/Andrea Sorrentino run on Green Arrow in my book. But alas dear readers, all good things must come to an end. Well, at least that’s what they say, and in case of the Azzarello/Chiang run on Wonder Woman, that end is all too true, and it is all too here. Issue #35 finally concludes what Azzarello and Chiang have been leading up to for so long.
Being set pretty much outside of the continuity of other Wonder Woman titles like Justice League and Superman/Wonder Woman, the first 34 issues of the series, one of the original 52 titles retooled during DC Comics’ company-wide reboot, revolved around Diana’s Greek God background, even going so far as to make Diana the actual God of War. Now, with issue #35, this long long run comes to an end. We are given answers and resolutions. We are handed an ending for the ages, so to speak. This issue is the conclusion to something great. It’s a bit sad, but also quite exhilarating.
I thought Brian Azzarello’s writing here, as it has been all along, is quite brilliant. With a history of dark stories, from the crime noir, 100 Bullets, to his work on Hellblazer and Batman, as well as writing what may be the best Joker story ever, Azzarello has given Wonder Woman a searing past and a formidable present. But it is not just Azzarello’s writing that makes this issue, and the run as a whole, what I consider to be the best of the New 52. There is also the artwork of Cliff Chiang, the artist behind the stunning 2003 mini-series, Beware the Creeper. Chiang may not have been present on every issue (doing the art for 27 of the 35 issues, including from #20 onward) but his style gives the Amazon Princess, I mean the God of War, a fresh new look for a fresh new era.
This issue may be an ending of a so-called era, but it is also the conclusion to the most epic of tales. Granted, this may not be the best episode of the aforementioned run, but it ties everything else up rather tidily. We finally find out all the endings to all those Azzarello twists and turns. Perhaps not as dark as many of his other works, these tales of Paradise Island and the dark regions of Olympus, as well as his sordid take on the Greek Gods (give me a tale about the Greek Pantheon, any day!) can titillate any reader. In this issue we finally see Diana fully embrace her role as God of War, and try to save the proverbial day, but of course other complications may spring up when she tries to make things right again.
Wonder Woman #35, with Azzarello’s skewed yet sweeping words and Chiang’s glossy, classically-inspired pencils, finishes the long-range story of Diana of Paradise Island, newly minted God of War, and a whole new direction for the character. With the next issue of the title, the new husband/wife creative team of David and Meredith Finch will be bringing the character back into the fold, so to speak, of general DC continuity (and I wish them well), but here we get one last look at the Azzarello/Chiang Wonder Woman, in what could be the best run on the character since George Perez and Len Wein had hold of the Amazing Amazon back in the late 1980’s.
Reviewed by: Kevyn Knox