Strife and the rage of Amazons make for a powerful resetting of the world around Princess Diana, rocking her world down to the earth it stands on. Following last issue's "poisoned battle" that set Amazon against Amazon in a mindless slaughter, Brian Azzarello makes the time to show how gods and Amazons clean up from such a calamity.
In the wake of the brutal struggle, the Amazons light pyres to their fallen sisters and bicker amongst themselves about what to do with their Princess and the pregnant mortal she has brought to their home. Zola, Princess Diana's charge and Zeus' latest baby mama, is on Paradise Island under the care of Wonder Woman. Strife, the daughter of Hera and Zeus, has taken it upon herself to ruin Diana's homecoming. Responsible for the slaughtered Amazons, Strife lingers to further taunt Diana regarding their shared parentage. As can only happen in Greek tragedy and comic books, the wrongdoers stand face-to-face with those wronged and discuss the whys and wherefores.
All around Diana, her sisters are turning. Some have resorted to their own taunts of "Clay" in reference to Diana's mystical (and mythical) origin. Others are simply angry that she brought shame (in the form of an divine-impregnated mortal) to their home. Hippolyta, Diana's mother, adds to the shame, discord, and strife by revealing Diana's true origins.
Much of the emotional turbulence on the island can probably be credited to Strife's very presence, but to an extent, she is simply magnifying what is already present and waiting to be shown. Azzarello does a fine job of blending myth with comics and giving us a new tragedy for this "New DCU."
Cliff Chiang steps right up and delivers the type of boldly magnificent work comic book fans have come to expect from him. Azzarello issues a challenge, Chiang responds, and the reader benefits from a story that is deceptively simple in content and art. Chiang plays with what Azzarello gives him and continues to craft splendid designs for the gods. Chiang also masterfully plays with the expressions and body language of the characters on the page. As Hippolyta seeks to comfort Diana before leveling her with the harsh truth of her origin, Diana can't help but follow Hippolyta's hand as though it were the most powerful viper, ready to strike at her heart and soul.
Chiang's work is a little sketchy in some spots, and some of his figures aren't as sleek as I've grown accustomed to expect from him, but those are exceptions and not the rule. The story is clean and crisp, the figures powerful and animated and the story itself well paced. Chiang's work is colored by Matthew Wilson, who is no stranger to coloring the worlds of gods in comic book form. Wilson's colors melt into Chiang's art, like the colored panels of stained glass windows.
I've been holding off on reading "Wonder Woman" with this relaunch, as I thought it might be nicer to take in as a collected edition (and I still hold that opinion) but I did make the time to get myself up to speed for this review by reading the two issues preceding this one. Taken as a whole, this is shaping up to be a powerful tale, tinged with horror and filled with adventure. This issue, in particular, runs the full gamut, giving us adventure, horror, drama, and foreshadowing of things to come as Diana faces a future filled with uncertainty. Certainly, that will make for some great reading for us.