This one is a really hard one for me review just because I am such a huge fan of Midnighter AND Apollo. They are my favorite superhero/vigilante couple. I’m going to try to write this review without bringing that up too much (that’s a lie, but I’ll try)… I’ll leave that to another post…it’s going to be a long and ranty one.
I honestly put off reading the comic for a few days to prepare myself. I was still not prepared. I’m very picky about my pairings, and that one was one that had never really been deviated from so I was very shocked to read that the writer was not going to have Midnighter and Apollo together, but once again, I’ll leave that to another post (still lying).
Oh, hey. Lookey there. Something finally happens.
Hera’s still chilling at the winery where Dionysus and his soon-to-be-turned-into-pigs comrades were in the previous couple of issues, leisurely ordering from the menu.
Of course, the menu is more interesting than the ball of green glowing fire hurtling towards her. Understandable, really.
Since warning her would be ridiculous, the waiter dives out of the way while Hera is trying really hard to remember that she just wants, like, a Jack and Coke, of all things. And, of course again, the ball hits her.
Back in the woods, Hermes and Demeter are trying to keep on their hunt, since the Moon is a little bit OCD.
She feels a disturbance in the Force and just fucking knows that Apollo’s in danger or hurt or in some other Charles Barkley level of turrible trouble, so she asks Hermes to transport them to Olympus right away.
On the ship, one of the engines has been damaged by the explosion, and Zola is in there trying to rescue Dio… Who we actually don’t see at all in this entire issue.
So, yeah, Zola’s kind of bad at things. But it’s okay because Wonder Woman is holding the plane up!
But, as turns out, nobody is good at things, because Hermes gets them to Olympus just in time for Diana’s strength to crap out on her, sending the ship pretty much crashing down on top of them.
But, they are all on Olympus now… Or what’s left of it. And now everybody can be snarky to each other until they realize exactly what their current location means as far as, y’know, not dying goes.
NO! No. No. Look, I know that Greek mythology is just chock fucking full of incest, and that this was especially the case in the gods’ case, but I’m done with all of the incest in comics, movies, TV shows, and fucking fanfiction especially. I’m DONE.
But that’s a rant for another time.
Anywho, the hyena people start to flip the fuck out…
And nobody seems to have noticed that they’re standing on red, squishy, raw-meat-smelling ground. And cue the appearance of the First Born. I’ve got to say, he’s looked better.
Understandably, they’re not particularly keen on the idea of subservience to a monster, and Demeter in particular is pretty intent on that whole vengeance thing.
And I guess having no skin makes his veins weapons now, so he’s caught her and is sucking her energy away a la the Parasite.
Diana pulls a magic glowing bladed spear thingy out of… nowhere? And intend to also attack him head on.
And her attempts to be a baller don’t last very long, as she gets vein-drained.
And the monologue continues on, being way more painful than that whole imminent doom thing.
The First Born says that he’s learned something during his captivity, and that it’s that power, love, life, blah, everything ends eventually.
But, before he can up and end all of these assholes, the only person who is able to do any thing is the one person who’s been the most useless this whole, entire arc.
The return of Hera to power! Literally. Her display of mad power, which really shouldn’t be intimidating since Apollo’s power transferring over to Hera shouldn’t have amplified it and the First Born done walloped Apollo good, well, it makes the First Born book it.
They leave Olympus in the ruins is was already in, Apollo’s guts all over the place and everything, and head to who-knows-where, where nobody questions it because they assume that wherever it is, it’s gonna be safe, so fuck it.
They pop on over to Themyscira, it turns out, so that Diana’s pseudo step-mother can give her a gift.
The Amazons are back!
And I swear if this whole thing doesn’t feel like it just completely fell flat.
Like, “oh, hey, ladies, welcome back. I’ve nothing to say to you, despite the appearance in the comics so far that your petrification and the destruction of Paradise Island and I don’t even see my mom or any of my closest friends, but would you mind dying in throngs for me?”
And, Wonder Woman finally accepts her mantle, knowing that her denial has cost them until now. So, she’s not asking them as Princess…
So, whoopee, she’s a harbinger of doom, to take down a harbinger of doom.
And I still feel like nothing happened. Hera’s back to power, yes, and last issue saw Apollo dying to give her back that power, but this whole story is just creeping along so slowly that I really do find it hard to care about one of my favourite characters.
I’m hoping that something happens to get rid of this First Born dude sooner rather than later, because I need this crap to be done with.
We need a new story, or at least better pacing.
And for now, I’ll be keeping an eye out for a downward spiral of yet another DC character, since being the god of war is more than likely going to be a thing that affects her as a character, morals and all.
Plus this whole “dating Superman” thing isn’t helping.
Well, until next time.
Last issue Zola went off with Dio (who I just figured out is supposed to be short for Dionysus), freaked out on him when he turned a bunch of normal humans into pigs right in front of her, Circe Style, and then ran into a Minotaur controlled by Cassandra.
So, let’s see where Wonder Woman is.
Well, she’s in the London Undergound, using Artemis (often referred to as “Moon” or “Hunter” in this issue and it’s driving me nuts) to track her.
Apollo keeps reminding Diana that she doesn’t trust Artemis, and she just lets him talk. They need her help. Also, like, five pages ago, he was on her shit list, so he really ought to calm his tits. Hera tosses him a barb. Diana refuses to let their shit get to her.
Zola’s scent ends at the plastic chairs by the station, but Artemis picks up Dionysus’ and dismisses Diana’s concern that she may have gotten onto one of the trains. She says that Dionysus never takes public transportation, and she’ll just start following his trail.
Meanwhile, in Provence, Dio is looking for Zola in the rapidly darkening woods.
Zola rushes back towards him through the woods, because of reasons.
Meanwhile, on Olympus, things aren’t going so well for Apollo. What with the being strangled by the newly-freed First Born.
But it’s okay because Apollo’s a motherfucking Street Fighter.
Back in France, Zola’s trying to get Dio to turn the Minotaur into a pig. But he’s got another plan.
Of course, expecting fucking vines to hold the Minotaur at bay is kind of not the best idea…
Diana and her entourage have arrived at the patio where Dio was “treating” his “guests,” and they quickly follow the sounds of “RRRAAAHHHRRR”-ing coming from the forest nearby. They dart off into the woods, and Hera is told to stay put.
In the forest, the Minotaur has beaten the immortal fuck out of Dio and is dragging him back through the woods towards Cassandra’s ship. Zola realizes that he was never after her… But she dismisses the fact that it’s a bad idea to follow him, and follows him, trying to help despite her relative helplessness.
Back on Olympus, the battle still rages on. Mostly because Apollo doesn’t realise that repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is one of the first definitions of madness.
The Minotaur carries his quarry onto the airship, but the Hyena men realise that they have some guests… Because really, Apollo’s got to smell
delicious like chicken (so, yeah, delicious).
Like a crazy bitch, Artemis is psyched about the hunt, but Wonder Woman warns her to chill the fuck out and stay on the defensive.
Cassandra opts to make her escape while the fighting is going on, because fuck her minions. She’s really cavalier about the fact that acolytes are easy to make and/or come by. Like, “Hey, we’ll just put out another ad on Craigslist. No worries! Let’s roll!”
They try to make their escape, but this is Wonder Woman we’re talking about here, so she latches onto the ship after taking a mighty leap. This does leave me to wonder who the fuck is going to take care of Zola, the baby, and Hera, though, since we’ve established the dubious trustworthiness of all of the gods, let alone Apollo and Artemis, and especially Apollo and Artemis together.
Cassandra’s aim, meanwhile, was to kidnap one of the Olympians and “persuade” them into revealing the location of Mount Olympus… Because nobody thought to just use Google Maps, I guess. I mean, c’mon, guys! It’s a geographically located mountain!
But, either way, it doesn’t matter, because Dio is psyched at the prospect of directing her right to Olympus… And right to facing off with Apollo.
But back on Olympus, which kind of looks more like Stark Tower than anything else, the First Born has gotten the upper hand. And, of course, he starts monologuing.
He tells Apollo that his plan is to kill all of the Greek deities, all of his family, and rule Olympus. He literally says that he just wants to sit on the chair alone. Which… I mean, which is weird. Right? You just want a fancy chair? Not to actually lord over them, but just slaughter them and be alone? Weren’t you pissed because you were alone, and locked away for eons in the first place?
But Apollo is super not okay with this plan. Whether it’s because he doesn’t want to lose the throne, or lose Olympus, or for his family to befall that fate, he’s not having it.
Apollo expends all of his energy, blowing himself up, but also getting the First Born caught in the explosion… And all of Mount Olympus, Inc.
So, this whole arc is moving towards war over ruling the gods. The First Born is willing to let the world burn just to be king (“King of Ashes” is the title according to the teaser for the next issue). Orion was brought in some time ago, bringing the “New Gods” into the New 52 Universe, so perhaps the rest of that will come in with the impending deaths of the Greek gods, the old gods.
Actually, it would be interesting if they killed off the Greek gods, brought in the New Gods, and that was a whole segue into a Darkseid storyline, especially with the World’s Finest/Superman-Batman crossover going on right now. To see the events of Earth-2 start to bleed into Earth Prime’s goings on? Bring back the Multiverse!
But, back to this book, this war between the gods, to become leader, and to rule those who rule as Cassandra would want, is interesting especially, or perhaps only because Diana is a god, too, now. Remember that she’s the current goddess of war. While I thought that that might be DC’s way of turning the character dark, because that is kind of their schtick nowadays, what with being fueled by war and rage, and violence and death, for now it’s just looking more and more like they’re trying to set Diana up for a place of leadership amongst the Pantheon. Which would be cool, and really would switch up the status quo of the character, but I’m not so certain that that would be such a good thing.
I’ve been adamant in the past that a lot of the characters who need something to make them more interesting are simply missing a cast of supporting characters (*cough* Supergirl *cough*). When we see the doing battle, sure it’s exciting, but it’s also great to see them dealing with normal problems of the powerless. Every day relationships. That’s why Spider-Man took off when he was first created. Spider-Man was exciting, but Peter Parker was still trying to live his life, and it was compelling to a whole mess of readers. Clark’s secret identity is a point of dissension between him and Diana right now, and although I hardly want to encourage the writers to get them together any more than they already are, maybe she needs to see how the other half lives.
I miss Diana Prince, damn it!
And while it’d be awesome to see a cosmically powerful Wonder Woman being the HBIC, I don’t think that it’s going to make for a particularly interesting read.
But then, hey, there’s also baby Zeke to consider. Maybe iyt’ll end up First Born versus last born.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
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Or, as I like to call it, “Keeping Up with the Olympians!”
Opening up on Olympus, Apollo is still trying to extract a vow of allegiance out of the First Born via super crazy awesome torture practices. Apollo is… whipping FB. Which, let’s be real, if kind of a huge step backwards from, say, feasting on his organs as he’s strapped to a dinner table.
Naturally, his chains begin to crack at the coupling… Because it’s not like shit was made by, I dunno, Hephaestus or anything. Pshaw.
Diana is on Themyscira with Hermes, talking in very disjointed syntax about how she’s failed to protect doesn’t even trust her… So… I don’t know what the hell she’s talking about. Is it Zola? Because I thought that bitch trusted her. Her Mom? Since she’s sitting there, turned to stone in kind of a begging position, SUPER unbecoming of Hippolyta. She’d be more like, “Come at me, bro,” frozen in stone, standing tall, one hand beckoning her attacker forward, the other giving a “Na!” (<- The Greek equivalent of a middle finger.) But I guess I’ll never know because, y’know, bad writing.
Now… Okay, so hold on. I want to talk really quickly about the title of this issue. “The Unsettling Son.” Really, guys? Really? REALLY. Let’s take “Setting Sun” and make it “Unsetting” instead for no reason. Then let’s make “Sun” into “Son” because, y’know, the First Born. Then let’s make “Unsetting” into “Unsettling” because the First Born is a creepster, but now it’s a hugely mangled pun that’s terrible, but we still think we’re clever as all fuck, don’t we? Because that would be the motto of the New 52. “We’re completely unaware of our poor writing. In fact, we’re super proud of ourselves.” In fact, fellow Fangirl Kizerrezik pointed out to me that a whole shit-ton of their books have “DC Comics Proudly Presents” at the top of the title pages. Like they’re trying to convince themselves…
HO-kay. Now. Back to the actual contents of the issue.
Hermes assures Diana that they’ll find baby Zeke, and she reminds him that they’re looking for Zola, too. They zap back on over to Diana’s flat in London, where Hera is sitting on the floor in a corner of the living room that’s been conspicuously left empty… for Drama.
Hera tells them that she’s afraid to leave, afraid of being alone, afraid to die, and that she doesn’t know who to pray to. Diana picks her up and tells her to pray to the only person she can count on to actually help her; herself. Hera doubts herself and Diana realises that they’re going to need some help…
Cut to Provence, where Zola is déjeuner-ing with Dio. Zola is more than open to learning to live with the finer things, and Dio welcomes some guests after remarking that she reminds him of someone.
They’re going to go hunting for truffles. Or is that “truffles?” I dunno.
Somewhere over the Alps, Cassandra and her hoverthingy full of goons are still tracking the First Born. <- And I wrote that line before actually reading the page.
Despite her just having said to not go to Provence and that they need to get to Olympus instead, she redirects them towards the south of France when an energy similar to Dionysus’ shows up in London, and then another like it in Provence.
Diana travels to Siberia with a cape on and no pants to combat the cold and ask Snape’s patronus for a boon.
Apparently, this broad is the Moon. And apparently, the Moon is an excellent hunter. And, I guess, Strife made it so that the gods can’t find baby Zeke.
And then this shit happens.
Diana is beaten by the Moon bear. She submits, despite the Moon telling her that she must agree to a wish of the Moon’s which she will only know when the Moon decides to tell her…
Back on Olympus, Apollo is now using all of his glowy sun powers to give the First Born a helluva shvitz, pouring out water right in front of his face and being a huge dickbag even as he monologues on just how much it pains him to do this to his brother, blah, blah, blah, and how if he just swears allegiance, this shit will all be over with and they can play catch and bake cupcakes and shit. But then…
Now, back in the south of France for the last scene, where Dio’s guests are too hot on their truffle hunt and are drunk and starting to strip.
And then THIS happens.
Zola, thank goodness, has the presence of mind to bolt (because, really, wouldn’t you?). Dio, however, almost seems shocked that she’d just up and ditch him. I mean, it’s not like she knew any of these people who’ve just been painfully and graphically transformed into pigs! And, actually, Dio looks more than a little concerned for her.
But she bolts anyways and comes out of the brush just in time to see Cassandra’s hoverthingy landing and her disembarking with her secret weapon…
An S&M MINOTAUR!!!
(Who needs a wax.)
I feel like I should mention… I’m actually of Greek heritage. I know my mythology. And, in the case of this comic, and specifically in trying to enjoy this comic… That’s not necessarily a good thing. So, this whole thing with the Greek gods playing a major role in Wonder Woman’s story, and her being just another bastard child of Zeus… I’m very much mixed about it. On the one hand, it’s cool to see her heritage and the wealth of mythology being used. On the other, like, five hands, though, we have a Wonder Woman whose origin has been rewritten to make her fundamentally less feminist by virtue of her creation now being dependent on a man, misrepresentations of numerous ancient Greek dieties, shit that don’t make no sense with respect to their characters, the fact that they roam the earth but are either completely ineffectual or invisible or some shit, the fact that it’s getting old, and then… Shit. I forget what the fifth thing was. But, really. I’m just not feeling it.
I love Cliff Chang’s artwork. It’s very clean and very cool. You can always tell every character apart perfectly, and, yeah, they are all designed significantly different, fine. But Diana is drawn like… Like a real person! She’s not a stick-thin bitch. She’s not super bulky. She’s thick. Athletic. Realistic.
And I appreciate that.
Brian Azzarello’s writing, though… I liked him better on Batman.
Bring back Gail Simone!
Or at least someone who writes Diana better. Hell, Peter David does excellent writing for strong women, and he’s always working in weird mystic shit into his story arcs. Let’s fix that broken bridge!
And let’s wrap this shit up already. I don’t think that this is a good enough story to have been following Zola since the first fucking issue. Or, go back and do something more with that whole “Wonder Woman is now the goddess of War” thing. That could actually be interesting!
I guess I should be happy that she’s not handled as poorly as she is in Superman/Wonder Woman.