Review: Wonder Woman Volume 4 – War / Author: Brian Azzarello /Artist: Eduardo Risso / Publisher : DC / Release Date: March 25th
The DC52 reboot of Wonder Woman has been a very good thing for the well known super-heroine. Wonder Woman has never quite picked up the same sort of recognition as her fellow heroes, Superman and Batman, and this is in part due to a vague origin story. Whereas Batman is a vigilante and Superman is a friendly alien, Wonder Woman is described as an Amazon and that is simply another way of saying female warrior. This makes for a very vague hook to hang adventures from and in the past has led to some fairly weak stories. During the reboot, Eisner Award-winning writer Brian Azzarello took the opportunity to swing the Amazon into a new but familiar direction, that of Greek myth.
Wonder Woman Volume 4: War collects issues 19 to 23 of the monthly comic book and brings to a close a story arc that began with issue one of the re-launched series. In this version of events, Wonder Woman’s powers come from the fact that she is a child of the Greek god Zeus. When a baby called Zeke (also a child of the gods) is prophesied to bring great change to the gods, Wonder Woman swings in to protect the mother and child from those who would wish the baby dead. Previous volumes have been pretty much a chase and survive story with the gods trying to outmanoeuvre the titular heroine and her band of plucky allies.
In War this situation comes to an ultimate end, with far-reaching consequences for the continuing story arc. One of the interesting additions Azzarello has made to the team is Orion – an alien god of War from the world of New Genesis. Orion is a critical character in DC’s cosmic-level adventures and it’s nice to see him here being brave, surly and trying to chat up the main character. He foreshadows Wonders Woman’s own potential fate as well as adding to the series' over-arching themes of duty and consequence. A key element in this tale so far is that doing the right thing is not always the smart thing and this lends a classically tragic feel to the entire affair.
Eduardo Risso’s art is moody and atmospheric. The artist resists the urge to turn the main character into a cheesy fantasy for bored teenagers, instead concentrating on a more heroic and action-based style. The mortals look weak and vulnerable, the god-like creatures look terrifying, blood-drenched and nightmarish. Risso captures Azzarello’s storytelling style perfectly and this results in a very natural read. If you’ve never gotten into the character but have always wanted to, then now is as good a time as any as the collected volumes simply keep getting better.