This issue seemed to polarise fan opinion. Some felt that it was another strong instalment, with subterfuge, plotting and intrigue abound, featuring a fearsome and commanding Diana. Others felt that this was by far the weakest issue of the arc – with sub par art and poorly constructed narrative resulting in a confused mess of an issue, featuring a Diana who was being overshadowed by her supporting cast.

Diana actually gets a little action in this issue, although it seems the only times she would get to “do her thing” in this arc was always going to be against Hera’s Centaurs! In issue 1 she needlessly and cruelly amputated one of the Centaur’s arms – and this time she needlessly and cruelly squashes and kills said same Centaur! It seems that the “DCnU” Diana had completely lost the art of using her lasso to subdue her foes peacefully and instead merely resorted to extreme or lethal force as her default response. The Wonder Woman of old would have only used violence as a last resort and did not need to rely solely on her fists to resolve conflict – because she was a far smarter woman than that.

It was still unclear whether Wonder Woman had the ability to fly anymore – and in fact readers still knew very little about any of her abilities and what her power levels were supposed to be in this “New 52” Universe – primarily because she had done very little thus far other than talk a lot. Some questioned why, after almost six issues, readers were still left unsure as to who or what made this new, re-booted version of Wonder Woman actually tick? It was argued by Azzarello supporters that this was all part of his writing style and that he liked readers to take a journey of discovery with him. Other fans however countered that this lack of clarity was because the focus of the book was not on Wonder Woman at all – and that Azzarello clearly had a story to tell about the machinations of the Gods themselves. Diana was simply there as a “groupie”!

After Tony Atkins promising debut in the previous issue as the stand in artist for Cliff Chiang, the quality of art in this issue was markedly inferior in places. In particular, the sequence of panels depicting Diana’s “bait and switch” tactic was almost impossible to work out and determine what was actually happening without re-reading at least two or three times. Even Azzarello supporters on the forums who initially confidently stated they “understood exactly what had happened” then discovered through further debate that even amongst themselves, there were differing interpretations as to what exactly had happened and how it had happened!

The resulting question for the Editorial team was simple – was this a result of Azzarello’s densely layered writing style which tended to jump around rather erratically at times and was not always to everyone’s liking or understanding- was it because Atkins art was simply not up to the task of depicting the events in a clear and understandable manner – or was it a combination of both?

Some long term fans found the story was becoming tedious, with Diana’s lack of presence and ‘act first-ask questions later’ approach (on the rare occasions she was actually involved in any sort of action) totally out of keeping for the character. Newer fans however tended to like the “slow burn” of the storyline and enjoyed this new Diana with her bad-ass “Don’t mess with me” attitude. They also felt that now Diana was entering a new chapter in the arc -with her quest to retrieve Zola from the depths of Hades realm – the action would start to noticeably pick up.

Even the motives of the characters – which were so wrapped in vagueries and mystery – had left every reader seemingly having their own differing interpretations as to what was driving each of them. Some argued this was a good thing and forced the reader to think about the story on more than just a superficial level. Others argued however that reading a comic book should not be as hard to read as a multi-page novel – but should instead be about entertainment.

And “entertainment” seemed to be the key word here in the debate. Did this book deliver that same “joy and thrill” that used to be what Wonder Woman’s monthly adventures were all about – or did it now represent something entirely soulless and at odds from previous incarnations? Was it enjoyable to read – or was it too dense and too convoluted for its own good? And did it depict a Wonder Woman as she was created to be – or instead a distorted, rather cold and altogether un-relatable facsimile?

So, in summary the book was certainly one that not only sparked much debate when it had first launched but also had continued to do so. And while sales were still holding steady, there was just a suggestion that perhaps the “honeymoon period” might finally be over for Azzarello…