With “Wonder Woman” #31, there’s no doubt that Brian Azzarello has moved his time on the title into its endgame. Azzarello and Goran Sudzuka have changed the status quo on Paradise Island in a major way (and tying back to a much earlier issue), even as the First Born’s actions in Hades begin to have their toll. And as final storylines go? It’s doing very well.
Even if you didn’t know that Azzarello’s time on the book was coming to an end before, you might get a good glimmer of that idea in “Wonder Woman” #31. An early issue gave us some slightly controversial facts about Paradise Island, and here we finally see the resolution of that idea. It feels like something that was planned since day one, part of Azzarello’s master plan, and I appreciate how seamless and naturally it comes across. It’s definitely a big step forward for the Amazons, but if it’s followed up well, we’re in for some interesting times. I will admit that I worry that it might not get a good follow-through, especially with a new creative team just around the corner, but for now I like the idea.
Azzarello’s also doing a good job of portraying Wonder Woman as both god and queen. She’s still ultimately the same character that we’ve read all along, but that extra level of command infused on her is what makes her especially good. You can see why the Amazons would follow her — even the ones who are questioning last month’s decision to let Zeke on the island — and it feels natural.
Sudzuka’s art, though, is what ultimately puts the cherry on top of the proverbial cake. Of the various artists to pitch in with Cliff Chiang, I feel like Sudzuka’s probably the best of the bunch. (Not that the others weren’t good! “Wonder Woman” has had a remarkably consistent and strong visual style since the relaunch.) The featureless shapes of Hades spilling into the streets of London is wonderfully creepy, without needing any sort of explosion or fist swung. Instead it’s just a slow, ominous look that sells Azzarello’s idea. And like Chiang, Sudzuka has a smooth, beautiful line. Dio holding up the glass of wine and looking through it is a great example, with his hair spilling over his eyes, framing them with the lip of the glass. There’s menace in those eyes even as they’re calm, and it’s just what “Wonder Woman” and its gods-in-the-flesh cast need.
“Wonder Woman” #31 is another strong issue, and I’m definitely going to miss Azzarello, Sudzuka, and Chiang when their time comes to a close. For now, though, lean back and enjoy the ride.