Today, Scott and Mikyzptlk are discussing Wonder Woman 24, originally released October 16th, 2013.
Scott: I love reading Wonder Woman. Brian Azzarello is now 24 issues into his run on this title, yet I feel like I’ve read 50. I mean that in a good way. The world he’s created is so vivid, the characters so constantly evolving that I feel like I’ve spent more time with them than I really have. Wonder Woman 24 is dependent on every member of the title’s diverse cast, and just about everyone has something new to offer. It isn’t the most thrilling comic book ever written, but it’s pleasing in a way that really no other title can replicate. Simply, Wonder Woman feels like a place where everybody knows my name, and they’re always glad I came. I never want to leave.
All of the gods have gathered atop Mount Olympus- except for one. Diana is home in London with Zola and Hera until Hermes arrives and whisks her away to the meeting of the gods. Diana thinks they want an apology, or at least an explanation for killing War, but really, they just want her to take her place among them. Diana is confused, until Apollo tells her who she is.
Apollo isn’t angry with Diana, he’s grateful. War’s death fulfilled the prophecy he’s been so worried about and, also thanks to Diana, he now has the First Born under control as his prisoner. But the Oracles say a war is coming, and as long as long as Apollo refuses to restore Hera to her place among the gods, Diana will not serve as War’s replacement. Diana returns home just before Strife crashes the party. Disgusted by her siblings’ attitudes towards War and his “murderer”, Strife vows to avenge War’s death, and take his mantle for herself.
Hey, speaking of mantels, displaying your dead son’s head above your fireplace has to be the most insensitive way to honor his memory, right? It’s hilarious how Hera refuses to understand how Zola and Diana wouldn’t want the severed head of their friend and brother, respectively, out on display in their home, even using Diana’s own logic against her.
I guess she won that argument; if you look, Lennox’s head remains on the mantel throughout the issue. Azzarello leans on Hera for comic relief- later on, she matches wailing cries with Baby Zeke- but the fact that such pitch-black comedy feels so at home here is one of the reasons I love this title. I can think of dozens of cases of the fish-out-of-water character, even some within this very title (ie. Diana), but I think Hera might be the fish-out-of-water-est of all. Hermes points out that, not long ago, Hera was a real threat to Baby Zeke. She’s shown real growth in that respect; she’s overcome her jealousy and formed a healthy relationship with Zola and Zeke. But it’s hard to look at the woman in above panel and see someone who could ever truly understand the nuances of the culture in which she’s being forced to live. Diana’s right: Hera’s return to Olympus is probably in everyone’s best interest.
After the action filled Wonder Woman 23, this issue is much more plot focused, taking inventory of all of the various threads that will tie into this next arc. In fact, Azzarello checks in with just about every living character we’ve been introduced to, save for Orion. I especially enjoyed seeing Milan, Diana’s blind half-brother, the homeless guy who can look through the eyes of flies. That’s him digging through a dumpster in Brooklyn, singing his take on this 7 Up jingle, replacing the line “It’s a crisp refreshing feeling” with “It’s a crippled, freshing feeling.” Milan is a complete afterthought to all of his siblings, at least until they need to use his powers. This time, it’s Cassandra, another character who was cast aside during the climax of the battle with the First Born. Last we saw her, she was fighting beside the First Born, and she could be the overlooked factor who keeps the his war against Olympus alive.
Goran Sudzuka handles the art, and manages to keep up the energy in what is a very dialogue-heavy issue. There aren’t any of the “wow” moments we often get from series regular Cliff Chiang, but Sudzuka is no slouch. I appreciate that, even with the swapping of artists, the character designs remain incredibly consistent from issue to issue. There are some great touches by colorist Matthew Wilson. I love the soft blue light that occasionally fills the frame, signifyng Hermes’ entry or exit to a scene. It’s a subtle way to add some style to a book that’s high on plot but low on action.
So Mikyzptlk, any guess as to where this title is headed next? I barely mentioned half of the characters featured in this issue. Apollo, First Born, and Strife all play significant roles, among others. Who stands out to you?
Mikyzptlk: That’s an interesting question. Azzarello does such a fantastic job of balancing this huge cast of characters that he’s put together. I agree with you that this issue may not have been the most thrilling or action-packed, but with a cast of characters as interesting as this, who the hell cares? For me, the character that I’m going to be keeping a close eye on is going to be Hermes.
Scott, while we both agree that this issue didn’t have any action, there sure were a few emotional punches thrown huh? The most devastating punch may just come from Hermes in the last image that you posted above. Look, I was as disappointed as the next guy to see Hermes betray everyone like he did, but he sure does have a point here. The look on Diana’s face is akin to someone just being slapped in the face. Maybe it’s just because Azz made this guy so likable initially, but I’m ready to forgive this guy, even if Diana isn’t there yet.
Not only that, but I think it would be in Diana’s best interest to get Hermes back on her side. I mean, the guy can literally appear from nowhere and zip our hero away in an instant. It’s hard for me to completely trust Hermes, but I can tell that his heart is in the right place. With Apollo up in the heavens trying to shake things up, Diana is probably going to need all of the allies she can get. Speaking of Apollo, does anyone else think that this is a monumentally bad idea?
This is how First Born spent the entirety of this issue. Bound, talked down to, and basically tortured. Scott, you asked me where I think this title is going to go, and while I’m not positive, something tells me that old Firsty is going to play a part. Anothing thing I think will play a huge part in the issues to come is illustrated in following panel.
People who aren’t fans of Azz-era Wonder Woman complain that he is taking Wondy away from her roots as a peace ambassador. Some people really didn’t like the addition of Diana’s bracelet-swords, so I can only imagine how they feel now that Wonder Woman is the new God of War. However, as the above image shows us, Diana hates the new change as well.
Apollo begins to call Diana “War,” but as she gives him a look that no one should ever want to be on the receiving end of, he self-correctingly refers to her as “Wonder Woman.” On one side, Diana is called “War,” while on the other side she is called “Wonder Woman.” I think the image of Diana standing defiantly between these two labels tells us a lot about the kind of struggle she will be facing in the issues to come.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?