Sunday, October 16, 2016

Wonder Woman Graphic Novel - The True Amazon

Back in the late 1980s, when George Perez took the reigns to the new Wonder Woman ongoing comic book series following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, nothing could have pleased me more.  Perez is probably who I consider to be one of the most talented comic book artists out there, so to have him not only drawing Wonder Woman, but also writing her tales, I was ecstatic!  While Perez remained the writer for five years or so, he did not do the art the entire time.  A new artist, of whom I had never heard, by the name of Jill Thompson took over the art chores.  The style of art was a far cry from the magnificent details of Perez, so for me, it was such a startling change, that I immediately took a dislike to her art.

Fast forward to the current decade.  Dark Horse Comics put out a few mini-series about the Beasts of Burden, a group of neighborhood cats and dogs who get into all kinds of adventures.  Thompson did the art for the various series, and quite frankly, her art style fit perfectly with the stories.  I loved it.

Now comes The True Amazon graphic novel.  While I am always excited to see one of my favorite comic characters get more attention and more comics, I will say I was less than pleased to hear that the book would be both written and drawn by Jill Thompson.  My memories of her art on Wonder Woman remain with me, so it was with a bit of trepidation that I bought the book.

I’m so glad I did.

This hard cover re-telling of Wonder Woman’s origin is an entirely new take, giving readers a young Wonder Woman (Wonder Girl, perhaps?) who is so doted upon as a child that she grows into a spoiled, self-centered little brat.  It is interesting to see how entitled she feels as the daughter of the queen, and how she simply expects everyone to love and respect her.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say this is likely what I’d expect to see happen when an island full of adult women have only one child, and all of them favor and give in to this young child’s every whim.  This Diana gives new meaning to the term “entitled,” and when she finds one Amazon who does not bow before her, it’s almost fun to what how she works so hard to prove herself worthy of Alethea.  For a brief time in the story, the reader can almost believe this is how Diana will redeem herself.  Thompson, though, does not follow any expected path; instead, she gives readers an entirely different “contest” for Diana to win – one that she wins at a very high cost, both to her and the Amazons as a whole.  And instead of leaving Themyscria to return Steve Trevor to man’s world, Diana is forced to leave, exiled due to her actions in the contest.
The art is definitely still Jill Thompson, the people drawn in the same manner as they were back when Thompson first drew Wonder Woman back in the day.  However, the art on the pages appears more like painted panels, rather than simply pencils, inks and colors, and as such, it gives it a more vibrant feel, giving the characters more life than simple comic book pages do.  Her facial expressions are so vivid, you can actual feel what the characters feel!  All in all, the story was intriguing and the art was more appealing, and I would definitely love to see more stories set in whatever universe this Wonder Woman resides.  Will we see more?  Only DC knows the answer to that question...

RATING:  9 silver serpent horns out of 10 for providing a fresh take on the age-old tale of Wonder Woman’s origin and making a hardcover graphic novel well worth the price.

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