Review: Wonder Woman #23.2: First Born
One of the fun traits of DC’s Villains Month titles has been the change up in creative teams on each book, and for the most part it’s been fine simply because many of these stories are either origins or one-shot tie-ins to Forever Evil. That all changes here as Wonder Woman regular - and only - series writer, Brian Azzarello, maintains his duties as First Born takes front and center. This works so well for the story as it maintains a consistent tone as Azzarello fills us in on one of Wonder Woman’s more mysterious nemesis’ history.
Apollo serves as host in this issue as he asks the Oracles to fill him in on everything there is to know about the first born of Zeus, as he is dropped off bruised, battered and bloody at the King of Olympus’ feet. The Oracles maintain their modern day dialect from the streets of Los Angeles, and my only complaint is having to read the dialogue filled will “likes” and filler words. It suits the style Azzarello has established of the god’s living in an upscale modern society, but it makes it nonetheless irritating after awhile. I’m sure it’s what Azzarello was going for, and if so mission accomplished; it just took me out of the narrative from time to time. That aside, the story is as solid as Wonder Woman’s entire run has been, and this tale is as epic in scope as suits the mythological story deserving of the gods.
The only change in the creative team this time round is ACO takes over the art duties, and his style is ever so slightly less abstract than Cliff Chiang’s, but ACO has a strong sense of illustrating a tale that begins in the streets of Los Angeles and moves into the grand scale of Greek mythology. ACO style fits nicely and nearly seamlessly within what we’ve come to expect for Wonder Woman. It also helps that series regular colorist Matthew Wilson is onboard, as well as the color has been an integral aspect to the feel of the book.
The tale of First Born is epic and grand, and as usual, Azzarello and his team pull it off with little trouble. It feels big, and overall this is a great story. It’s an origin told from a point of view that resonates as less historical and more of in the moment, which is rarely easy to achieve. Once we are exposed to First Born’s upbringing and his ruthless nature to survive we can see that he will remain and possible become an even bigger and badder player in Wonder Woman’s world, and I can’t wait to see how he will be used. It ends on a note that will leave you guessing a bit, but with Azzarello at the helm I’m sure it will be a rewarding development. The best villains book to me were the ones that seem to slide right into whatever the main ongoing story is about, and First Born fits that to a tee. Fans of Wonder Woman will not be disappointed.