The good news is that the epic Wonder Woman storyline continues in Volume 5: Flesh. As we learned in Volume 4: War, Diana is in fact a child of Zeus as well, putting her on par with the likes of Apollo/Sun and Dionysus. And, she’s not just immortal, but, (spoiler alert if you haven’t read War) she killed a god and inherited his throne at Mount Olympus.
The bad news? The fact that the story is epic. Newcomers are going to be a little lost as to exactly what the hell is going on, especially since the first “Chapter” (a whole single issue) is exposition explaining the original of the First Born, the first born child of Zeus, who’s been around for at least two volumes without much explanation—not much needed really, except maybe now that he becomes the main bad guy of the story. I’m not a fan of exposition—I prefer the story to explain everything, that we readers ‘get it’ from the context.
But on the other hand, like I said, new readers might be even more lost. So ok, after the first Chapter we get back with Diana and crew, and part of the interest is the changing cast of allies, as the gods of Olympus vie for their preferred new ruler. Wonder Woman’s allies and enemies aren’t necessarily the same as in Volume 4. Though throughout the changing allegiances, she remains loyal to both mortal humans, and her cousin Zeke, the last born of Zeus, although Zeke isn’t necessarily the object of all the violence anyone. Maybe. Or not.
And if you’re confused now by my pathetic attempts to summarize, I feel your pain. You might want to back up first, and read Volumes 3 and 4 first, at least. Heck, start from the beginning, Volume 1, and enjoy maybe the best storyline and character happening in DC’s New 52.
Wonder Woman Volume 5: Flesh starts slow. Like I said, there’s a lot of explanation, and I hate to say it, a lot of dialogue that feels like filler, though I think it’s meant as/for characterization. Fortunately, writer Brian Azzarello is the master of the ‘meanwhile…’ scene switch, keeping our attention and in-the-know about multiple story threads: we know more than Diana does, though part of what we know is a bunch of torture scenes, that I’m not sure do much to serve the plot, and seem like excuses for violence, because there isn’t a lot of fighting going on as the various factions line up their strategies. But there I go trying to explain things again….
Cliff Chiang continues to draw Diana as a 6’5” foot kickass giant, for which I and many others are grateful. Word down the pipe is this creative team will be off Wonder Woman soon, and that Diana is going to go down to a 5’5” feisty elf. I hope that’s wrong. Wonder Woman should always be tall and imposing (sigh). I’m not super keen on the colors, seems like everything should be a little darker and grittier, but I like dark and gritty, and that’s not a deal breaker.
The first few Chapters (there are seven) just really drag, but the story builds, or re-builds. Volume 4: War was so good, and peaked at a great moment, with Diana becoming God of War, which is just a great concept, and was executed well. Still, the problem remains of whether Apollo is going to rule Mt. Olympus or not. There are still some pretenders out there. And where the heck is Zeus anyways? And whatever happened to all the Amazons on Paradise Island?
Three stars from me means still readable. Volume 4: War I gave five stars, and the whole story line, meaning the last three volumes, is an overall five stars. Volume 5: Flesh just feels like the pause to catch one’s breath before the total Amazon kickass-ness of Volume 6. Maybe DC will put out a collected Volume of the whole Azzarello run.
My review of Wonder Woman Volume 4: War here.