The first issue of DC’s 9-issue Wonder Woman series is in stores tomorrow. In a few months we’ll finally see Wonder Woman on the big screen in Batman v Superman, and this new series is DC’s attempt to make the Wonder Woman character resonate with people the same way Bats and Supes have for years.
So how’re they doing? Click the jump for preview images and a review of Legend of Wonder Woman #1.
Check out the trailer for an idea of what you’ll see in the series. (I’m not usually a fan of book and graphic novel trailers, but this one was really well put together.)
As you can see, the art’s gorgeous. The pencils by Renae de Liz and the inks and colors by Ray Dillon really pop off the page, with some truly epic background art as well. My one quibble is that occasionally people’s heads seem a little larger than is proportional, but only once in a while, and it’s never enough to be too distracting. The style is clean and “cartoony” (not in a bad way, I mean in that it almost looks animated) with bright jewel tones in the colors and lovely gradients.
The story is definitely satisfying. Wonder Woman has had so many origins: most of the time she was created from the clay of the island, but in Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s run (my personal favorite) that turned out to be a story spread around to hide the fact that she was actually a goddess, the daughter of Zeus.
In this series we seem to have gone back to the “born from the clay” story, as a mortal girl. Diana’s being groomed to one day be queen, though some of the girls at school smirk that she can’t be queen because she’s mortal and is going to die eventually. (Kids can be so mean.)
The girls are caught up in their callings: the gods speak to them and tell them what their destinies are, whether they’ll study the stars or be mothers or healers or teachers. We don’t hear whether or not Diana has heard her calling yet, but we have a feeling it won’t be long.
She knows she’s different, and that seems to bother her a little, but she’s more troubled by the feeling she gets that there’s something wrong with the island. She tries to convince her mother that it’s time she learned fighting and battle techniques, but her mother says that’s not appropriate for a future queen, that there are warriors who handle that sort of thing.
Frustrated at being powerless, Diana runs from the city and accidentally sees the island for what it really is: the good and the really bad. But she also finds a new ally that she didn’t expect.
Wonder Woman is a tough character to write. She’s often seen as a feminist icon, but that’s a difficult line to walk: make her too loving and compassionate and some people feel she’s weak. Make her too strong and warlike and people say she’s no longer feminine, and is just an angry amazon killing machine.
It seems like in this story so far we’ll get a more layered look at the character. She’s very young, but her empathic nature is surfacing already, as well as her desire to fight. She doesn’t want to be a warrior because she’s warlike, she wants to protect the island and her people.
Out of all the different portrayals of Wonder Woman, that’s always been my favorite, when she fights because she needs to, because she’s good at it, and she’s fighting for someone: her people, her family, or innocent bystanders when a super villain starts trashing the place. If her warlike nature comes from a protective side, we get to see all the best sides of her: a kickass warrior, who’s still a human being.
(Yes, okay, created from clay, but I mean human in the best possible sense.)
What do you think? Check out the issue and shout out in the comments, I’d really like to get people’s opinions on this one.