This issue of Wonder Woman ends speculation about her origin. Originally, Hippolyta fashioned Diana from clay and asked the gods to give her daughter life. Few variations occurred over the years. George Perez transplanted a soul into Diana's clay body, for example, but Wonder Woman has always been classified a kind of golem.
Most people on the street can recognize and identify Wonder Woman. A scant few know that Wonder Woman was literally sculpted. Only a handful of artists and writers ever made Wonder Woman's earthen origin an issue, usually when she approached death. Even comic book readers may be surprised to learn the history of William Moulton Marston's creation.
Azzarello takes the opportunity of the New 52 universe to wipe the clay off the slate. Wonder Woman has a new origin, but it has actually been years in the making. Bruce Timm and company toyed with the idea of the new origin. John Byrne also foreshadowed Azzarello's scheme through the introduction and explanation of Wonder Woman's protégé. He in addition moved Diana closer to the gods by making her a deity of truth.
So, this change isn't at all a grand surprise, and it's not a slight against Marston. Diana's first origin mirrors the Greek legend of King Pygmalion and Galatea. The change however does not give credence to the high grade. In truth, I didn't factor in Wonder Woman's new origin at all.
With Cliff Chang and Matt Wilson illustrating, it would be very difficult to give the issue anything less than a 3. Even were the story wanting, the artwork would make Wonder Woman worth buying. So, the artwork being superb? That's a given. A given and a gloss over don't really add up to much, but there's more at work here.
Homage to Ian Fleming?
The stronger idea is that the Amazons didn't all treasure Diana as the old myths suggest. Instead, they teased and harassed her about her unnatural beginnings. That makes sense but using her Claymation as a catalyst for revolt could get old very fast. Azzarello precludes this unnecessary expansion with a decisive demonstration of Diana's strength.
Once again, the New 52 writers reduce the character that fluxuated from second to Superman to mere mortal with bullet-proof bracelets to one intense quintessential powerhouse. It's a remarkable moment in Wonder Woman history and a blow against padding. Thank you.
Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups, where he reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.