Wonder Woman Vol 5. Flesh

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Wonder Woman’s life is changed forever when she is called on to take the place of War on Olympus! In these stories from issue WONDER WOMAN #24-29 and WONDER WOMAN #23.2 FIRST BORN, Diana must decide if the path set out for her is one she wants to take. But there’s no time for Wonder Woman to fully comprehend the fallout as her family gathers to prepare for an assault on Olympus!

DC COMICS

Brian Azzarello (Writer)
Cliff Chiang (Artist)
Goran Sudžuka (Artist)

So, I’m five volumes in, and I would be lying if I said that I haven’t gotten somewhat attached.

It seems that Volume 5 serves as a tying of lose ends in this series, albeit throwing in its own twists and turns in the third act, before closing it off with a grand finale. For example, this collection opens up with “Wonder Woman #23.2: First Born”, a story that doesn’t feature the titular character at all, but does reveal the origin of the so-called ‘First Born’, courtesy of three inner city (the PC term for ghetto) clairvoyant girls.
That’s actually one question I’ve had about Apollo, who seems to have the ability to summon prophecies and omniscience from random girls with his own power. It would appear that he makes these girls see what he can’t (think the Mastermind from the Dark Phoenix Saga): how come he can’t do this to himself. After all, he’s a god…
Also, the other thing that was bothering me was the First Born himself. The three seeds reveal that he was cast from heaven in typical Olympian fashion; his father, none other than Zeus himself, feared that his son would take his throne away. He then grows up in the jungles of Africa, only to be raised by Hyenas. He then grows up to kill all the big game and predators in the vicinity, just to get the God’s attention.

That’s the part of the First Born that struck me at first. His origin story seems vaguely similar to Doomsday, the monster that killed Superman. If I recall, Doomsday was subjected to the elements on prehistoric Krypton, only to succumb and be recreated stronger by his ‘creator’, until he was strong enough to become the monster that would kill the man of steel. Meanwhile, the First Born goes on to kill and kill, and the only thing preventing him from being as one dimensional as the aforementioned Doomsday is the fact that he actually has a goal: to get the gods attention long enough to get his revenge on them. Even his costume reminds me of Doomsday; the spikes in the knees of his pants or the huge spikes from this wrists on his gloves.

The other thing I noticed was the seeming lack of discernable weaknesses of the First Born. In the DC universe, it’s textbook to have some physical weakness of some kind; for Superman, it’s either magic or kryptonite, for Green Lantern, it’s the color yellow. in the last volume, Wonder Woman impaled Area in an attempt to kill the First Born, but to no avail for the latter. Apollo sets the First Born on fire this volume, even blowing himself up at the top of Olympus, and the First Born doesn’t die. The fact that the best efforts from the more powerful gods – not to mention the lack of iris or pupils – give the First Born a “Broly, the legendary Super Saiyan” feel. A overly powerful warrior motivated by childhood disappointment.

And then, there’s Zeke, Zola’s baby. It seemed at first, reading the first few volumes, that everyone and their mom (literally) wanted to steal this child. Now, it seems that Zeke is just…there, not really the main interest of anyone… Or perhaps I’m being to hasty, and I need to read volume 6. I’m sure a seasoned writer such as Azzarello wouldn’t set up such an important plot device (especially considering that the baby does have super powers), only to abandon it with no closure.
And yes, I know that the baby is actually Zeus (I cheated and looked at DC’s Wikia page). That just applied to this volume.
But with those two aside, I must say that I actually enjoyed Hera’s depiction. She seems to have a breakdown in multiple occasions in this volume, unable to accept the pain of being mortal. So I guess it helps that she gets her powers back and restores the Amazons, who she turned into snakes back in volume 1. She came across as an annoying, entitled, whiny older woman, who suffered from hair trigger sensitivity and petty jealousy, but it was interesting watching her wrestle with her own mortality. However, as with Ares and Apollo, it seems that Gods do in fact die and can be killed, so one might see this character development as a bit ironic, albeit characteristically human.
All in all, I was able to look past my aforementioned gripes and enjoy this volume. If one doesn’t look too deep into it, then they can certainly do the same, all while embracing the sadness that it’s almost over (technically already over, but hey, there’s always Earth One and Rebirth)…

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