Finally, after all the hype and build up surrounding DC Comic’s bold initiative to effectively re-boot their entire line Wonder Woman fans finally got to see what this would mean for their beloved Amazon.

Following the “pants-gate” debacle people began to refocus once more on what creative and editorial direction the re-launched book would take and how would Diana’s character be changed – if at all.

The new creative team of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang had purposely kept a low profile during the run up to the launch and gave only a few brief interviews. Much furore occurred however after Azzarello made a casual comment that “Wonder Woman” would be less of a superhero book and more a horror book! Visions of Diana becoming DC’s version of “Vampirella” caused some trepidation on the fan forums to say the least, but later both Azzarello and Chiang clarified that the “horror” reference was more to do with the sort of horrific situations Diana would be facing. They stated that the Greek mythology that played such a major part of Wonder Woman had always contained bloodthirsty Gods and Monsters which would be reflected in the new book.

These pronouncements however did not necessarily placate all sections of the fan base, with the implication that we might be seeing more of the amped up violence and bloodshed that had beset the ‘Odyssey’ story arc. And with publicity art showing a weapon wielding blood covered Diana, there was understandably still some nervousness as to what to expect when opening the first issue.

Even Dan Didio himself clearly understood the stakes and went on record to state that while initial sales of the first batch of #1’s launched as part of DC’s “New 52” initiative had sold very well, he was still nervous about fan reaction to titles such as “Wonder Woman” who, quote “has one of the most ardent fan bases around”. With such high expectations surrounding the title then, it was little wonder that it had a lot to prove!

When at last the first issue was published it was an instant big seller, generally meeting with wide spread praise from both industry critics and fans alike – with many indicating that it was one of the best books of the entire “New 52” relaunch. On first indications there was relief that fans seemed to have the Diana back they all knew and loved – acting as we would expect her to act after the misguided direction taken in ‘Odyssey’ and the story set up, involving scheming Gods and mythical monsters, seemed very much in keeping with the character’s history and past. Many new readers, who had dropped the book or had simply never been inclined to read “Wonder Woman”, picked up the book, intrigued by what Azzarello’s take on Diana would be after so much speculation.

That said, after the first couple of days euphoria had died down there were some indications that the issue was not quite a unanimous success. Some wondered whether the gushing reception received by the book was perhaps more indicative of just how bad a story ‘Odyssey’ had been – more than how good this new Wonder Woman actually was – and that anything would have been perceived as a vast improvement!

Concern was expressed in some quarters that this Diana seemed to have been de-powered to a certain extent and that – as had been suggested based on Azzarello’s track record – the book would have more of an adult feel to it, resembling a “”Vertigo” version of Wonder Woman than the more traditional approach taken by previous writers.

As had become a theme amongst many of the “New 52” titles launched by DC, the blood and gore quota was higher than one would expect in a typical Wonder Woman book. And while Diana has always been depicted as a warrior at heart, a few felt that the character strayed a little too much towards “Xena – Warrior Princess”.

While the majority of people seemed to praise Cliff Chiang’s artwork, there were a small few who found his style rather too cartoony and sketchy and not to their liking. Chiang’s Diana was attractive to look at certainly – although she was still saddled with the choker, armband and of course those new blue boots, which to some fans still seemed awkward, spoiling her overall design look.

It was clear from this first issue that Azzarello had a very firm vision for his interpretation of Diana and the world she would exist in. With this initial issue he managed to set up his first major story arc well, depicting very modern Olympic Gods and sprinkling enough intrigue to whet the reader’s appetite – and at the same time reminding us what Diana can do when called to action.

Arguably however, it was quite a dense narrative and required a number of readings in order to grasp exactly what was going on. Also, to some extent – while one of the main purposes of the DC relaunch was to attract new readers without having to worry about the perceived “baggage” of history and canon – this did not necessarily seem quite as easy a read for a brand new reader unfamiliar with Wonder Woman as it should have been – although it was still early days in the arc and there would of course be more opportunity to put some of Diana’s world into further perspective. Interestingly, Azzarello chose not to let us know Diana’s every thought – allowing the reader to decide on her thought processes instead of the character explaining her motives in each panel.

So, the question now was whether this seemingly promising start could be sustained – and just how far would the book stray into graphic adult themes and blood drenched violence territory. Was this truly an “Amazing Amazon” re-invented for the modern age – or simply a brand new character who just happened to be called “Wonder Woman” for marketing purposes…