Wonder Woman Issue 5: Ew, God, What Is That Thing?

This was originally written Jan. 19th.  For my Issues 1-4 review of Wonder Woman, look here.

Wonder Woman’s ambitious run continues in Issue 5, which finds our heroes in London, for some reason.  Does it matter, really?

Anyway.  The aforementioned Big Event is coming – with the Sky-Lord Zeus on the way out, the Lords of Sea and the Underworld are looking to fill the void.  Part of the anticipation and fun of the series has been the introduction of the gods.  Hermes as a blue-skinned bird-man, Hera as a beautiful woman in a peacock coat, Apollo’s glowing ember of a body.  So the emergence of Poseidon and Hades has been eagerly expected.

And the result is… interesting.  You know that big ugly monster Wonder Woman’s fighting on the cover of Issue 5? A minion of Poseidon, you think?

No.  That’s him.  That’s Poseidon.  DC’s Poseidon is a chitin-crowned shell-quid with a whale and walrus face.  Which should really make Aquaman a lot of fun, if those two worlds ever collide.  Still: most of the pantheon’s full of humanoid deities, except for this guy who’s as big as a football field.  Huh.

Our motley crew is introduced to Lennox, a figure of shadowy origin who seems to have the gifts of prophecy and invulnerability.  He also looks and talks like a British football hooligan (and a very well-written one at that).  His role, and allegiance, and true nature, are still a mystery at the end of the issue, and that’s not a bad thing.  It’s means he’s sticking around.

Oddly for such a mainstream comic, this issue’s hero is not the combat, but the dialogue.  The writing for these characters is so well done that a Y: The Last Man and American Virgin come to mind (and the issue’s slightly screwball ending and fourth-wall breaking aside is reminiscent of Young Liars).  There could be no higher compliment for a writer of dialogue, especially as Azzarello reveals his Wonder Woman to be the most high-minded and virtuous of people, truly caring for those she has taken under her wing and treasuring her time with them in a regal, gracious way.   Her conversations with Zola help reveal Diana’s character and steal the show.

Wonder Woman is emerging as the New 52 hero to go have a beer with.  She’s a true friend to her friends, even though she’s been through the worst.  At a time when most DC heroes seem to be pushing their loved ones and close friends away (see Mr. Terrific, Batgirl, Batwoman), Wonder Woman is the warm, gregarious one.  She kicks ass, too – a good thing, since issue 6 is looking pretty… involved.

Issue 5 gets a 4.5/5.  Action takes second place to character development and interaction – and you will not miss it a bit.  These bits are so strong that the strangeness of Diana’s confrontation with Poseidon (not to mention the unexpected gambit she takes at the end) and the addition of another Greek misfit we have to care about can be overlooked.  The fourth-wall breakage at the end of the issue may or may not be the sign of a more mad-cap, less traditional superhero approach.  But the treatment of the characters is something that fans of other comics genres can relate to.  Issue’s end sets us up for a tussle on a grand scale as the world of myth spills into the modern on a scale yet unseen in this comic.  Should be fun!

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