Friday, October 31, 2014

Comic pick of the week: Wonder Woman #35

Welcome to the first of a series of posts that will get me back to writing about comics regularly. Longtime Rant readers will recall that I used to do weekly reviews a few years back, but the workload was too much to sustain indefinitely with everything else I had going on. I miss writing about comics on here, but my schedule hasn't lightened up at all since then. So, instead of reviewing a bunch of new comics each week, I decided I'd pick my favorite and do a short feature on it. As always, I reserve the right to take a break or bail altogether if things get too hectic, but hopefully the much lighter workload attached to this feature will allow me to do it indefinitely. the plan for now is to choose a top pick, a runner-up, and then name five other comics that stood out from the pack.

Anyway, this week's pick is Wonder Woman #35.
Brian Azzarello, along with artists Cliff Chiang, Goran Sudzuka, and Tony Akins, have consistently delivered one of the finest superhero comics available since DC's New 52 relaunch in September of 2011. This issue serves as the finale to that epic run, and it is a jaw-dropping affair from cover to cover.

The First Born has seized the throne of Olympus, ruthlessly crushing any and all resistance to his reign. Wonder Woman and her allies are caught in a desperate battle to stop him, even as other gods make their own plays for the throne in the midst of all the chaos. Some live, some die, alliances are shattered, bonds of friendship are re-forged. It's a breathless finale that will leave longtime readers howling for more from this team because it's just so damn good.

My only gripe with this issue, and this really applies to the past few issues, is that so much is crammed into its pages that it feels rather rushed. Several key moments don't get the space to breathe that they really deserve because there just isn't room. Another issue or two, or even a giant-sized finale, would have helped a great deal in this regard. All that said, this remains an astonishingly good comic, and I'm damn sorry to see this run end. My wariness of the incoming creative team only intensifies that feeling.

Runner-up: Swamp Thing Annual #3.
Any other week, this probably would have won. I actually went back and forth between the two of them. Swamp Thing has been one of DC's best series since the current volume began, and since Charles Soule took over as writer, it just seems to keep getting better every month. This issue gives us the final fate of the immortal assassin Capucine, a recently-introduced character who has become a close friend to our beloved avatar of the Green. We get several flashbacks that range from revealing to delightful, and a guest appearance by the demon Etrigan caps everything off. Plus, you get to see Swamp Thing manifest via popcorn kernels!

As Soule recently signed an exclusive contract with Marvel, his time on this book appears to be numbered. It's a damn shame, as it's been one of my favorite series for quite some time now, and whoever follows him will have a hell of a rough time maintaining the same standard of storytelling.

Other books I enjoyed this week: Groo vs. Conan #4, Inhuman #7, Southern Bastards #5, Atomic Robo and the Knights of the Golden Circle #5, Sinestro #6.

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