Aptly titled “The Calm,” “Wonder Woman” #22 written by Brian Azzarello with art by Cliff Chiang spends more time constructing relationships and defining character attitudes than depicting battles or action. While various representatives of the New Gods have appeared across the DC Universe, this issue presents the first in-depth look at New Genesis and its ruler, Highfather.
Highfather is on a bit of a high horse as he chastises Orion’s actions early in this issue, which provides an interesting dynamic as the impulsive and brash warrior bends his knee to address Highfather. Azzarello has done a great job writing the denizens of New Genesis, and this issue is further evidence as the writer even provides a bit of background and history for the planet.
Cliff Chiang, simply, was born to draw Fourth World characters. His understated composition and sublime character design work are a nice homage to what Jack Kirby achieved back when he first built Apokalips and New Genesis. Chiang’s take on Highfather is both trendy and transcendent. The primary colors applied by Matthew Wilson enhance Chang’s bold design choices, visually connecting the Fourth World to Earth. The artist conscribes detail into every panel, but his figure work — from expressions to energy — is the true joy of the art in “Wonder Woman” #22. Chiang’s ability to deliver visuals to match Highfather’s declaration that “New Genesis is a world caught up in the joyful strains of life!” makes this a very pretty issue, regardless of the severity of the subject matter.
“The Calm” doesn’t deliver much action, but it does give both characters and readers a chance to catch their collective breath. Diana and her crew have three days on New Genesis to recuperate over the course of “Wonder Woman” #22, between the battle they left in “Wonder Woman” #21 and the one awaiting them when they return from New Genesis. In this regard, “Wonder Woman” #22 provides the perfect breather for readers and characters while Azzarello and Chiang continue to add depth and dimension to the characters surrounding and opposing Wonder Woman.