Brian Azzarello pulls off a neat trick in “Wonder Woman” #6 by ending the first ‘story’ and beginning another in seamless fashion. With Zeus dead, Poseidon and Hades look ready to take his place with Hera striving to retain her power. Meanwhile, Diana, Zola, Hermes and Lennox try to stay alive somewhere in the middle. The way events play about between the gods shouldn’t be surprising for Azzarello fans; one of his greatest strengths is a well-executed plan with a great payoff — exactly what happens in this issue. As far as short-term, seemingly on-the-fly plans go, this one is pretty impressive.
Part of what makes Azzarello’s writing so excellent is his reliance on the reader never questioning why Wonder Woman and company would care who takes Zeus’s place. Obviously, minimalization of any collateral damage potentially spilling over into the mortal world is a plus, but a power struggle over the throne of Zeus isn’t an activity one would normally want to get involved. Yet, comic readers are conditioned to see characters inserting themselves into fantastic situations and Azzarello plays off that expectation wonderfully.
He also leans heavily on his love of word play in this issue, particularly in conversation between Lennox and Hades. Everything they say seems to have another meaning, many of which they discuss openly. The puns are groaners in some spots but the playful nature of the dialogue keeps it light — and it wouldn’t be an Azzarello comic without word play.
Tony Akins continues to prove himself a worthy Cliff Chiang stand-in with expressive, detailed art with a cartoony edge. There’s a manic energy to his art at times, such as the scene where Diana protects Zola from Hera’s assassins; every panel is full of movement with a dash of slapstick. The final showdown relies heavily on Akins’s art and panel-by-panel he nails it through great facial expressions and body language. His depiction of Diana in those scenes is really impressive.
“Wonder Woman” #6 seemingly does away with one threat (or delays it) and introduces another in a fairly smooth transition. Azzarello’s writing is playful and wonderfully structured with plot movement coming from characters instead of external events. Six issues in, “Wonder Woman” is still one of the best titles of the New 52.