Brian Azzarello’s work with Cliff Chiang and Tony Akins on “Wonder Woman” has been, up to now, one of the big creative hits of DC Comics’ big re-launch. As a result, the idea of adding in a new artist to the mix could have been a little worrisome; Chiang and Akins are both working quite well with Azzarello, and the book is handsome. When it’s an artist like Kano stepping in for half an issue, though? Quite frankly, the transition is almost seamless.
It helps that Kano is definitely an artist in the same camp as Chiang and Akins; smooth, clean lines, expressive faces, graceful storytelling. In many ways, Kano’s art feels like a merger of these other two artists; the carefully coiffed hair feels like Chiang, while the careful, collected expressions on Wonder Woman’s face match perfectly with the half of the issue that Akins draws. Kano also reminds us here that he’s good at action, too; Diana’s attempted escape from Hades is fluid and fun to read over and over again. The leaping, the charging through the faceless bodies, the swirl of the magic lasso… it’s stunning.
Akins does his own share of the heavy lifting here, too. His half of the issue is a little looser than Kano’s but it looks good, too. Hell, with his melted candle wax covering his eyes, still looks wonderfully creepy. Hephaestus is oafish and non-menacing wrapped up into one, and the determined final look we get of Wonder Woman this issue is spot-on perfect.
As for the story itself, there are a few moments that are fairly brilliant. A comic which opens with Wonder Woman under the power of her own truth-telling lasso saying that yes, she loves Hades is a tough moment from which to wiggle out an escape for the rest of the series, after all. It’s to Azzarello’s credit that he not only comes up with a way in which to do so, but at the heart of that escape is a strong, fundamental truth about the character of Wonder Woman that shows how much he understands her. And while most of this issue wraps up the storyline set in the underworld (and in a way that pulls together the majority of characters to date), I appreciate that we’re still getting glimpses at what’s still to come. The mystery of Lennox is starting to deepen, and the reappearance of Strife this issue is a reminder of some other moments from earlier in the series that feel ripe for a return. There’s enough cleverness in this issue alone to make me want to read the next dozen issues, quite frankly.
“Wonder Woman” #10 continues the trend of strong comics for this series, both in writing and art. And if Kano ever wants to come back and draw more “Wonder Woman,” well, I won’t complain. As much as I love Chiang’s art, and also appreciate Akins as a regular fill-in artist, Kano’s more than proven this month that he has what it takes to draw “Wonder Woman,” too.