Hello and welcome to another Quick Cuts with Orbital Comics, London’s Eisner Award-winning store! This time around, we’re focusing on Wonder Woman. With the movie now showing at the The Cineworld Imax in Leicester Square, we thought we’d give you this short guide to the best of the Princess Of Themyscira.
In a break from the previous quick cuts, we’re sticking strictly to starting points of the Wonder Woman myths; Volume ones and origins, giving you a good hook into the WW world regardless of which book you pick up! Now on with the list. Hola!!
WONDER WOMAN VOL. 2 (DC REBIRTH)
Greg Rucka (w), Nicola Scott (a)
Yes, technically, this is the second volume in WW’s DC Rebirth series, but since this originally ran in every other issue of the first 12 bi-weekly instalments and deals solely with Diana’s arrival into ‘Man’s world’, so newbies among you might be better off hitting this up first. This has a great style and wit to it. It brings Diana into the modern world, integrating the mythic parts of her origin and having them make sense within the context of the world Rucka’s building. Nicola Scott’s art style is clean and clear, never leaving you in doubt of where you are what’s happening or who’s who and that’s something of a triumph in modern comics!
WONDER WOMAN: VOL.1 (DC REBIRTH)
Greg Rucka (w), Liam Sharp (a)
Rucka Rebirth again. This is technically the first of the new WW you should read but it’s here for the reasons stated above.This has Diana haunted by memories of a life she hasn’t lived and losing her memory of the path back to Themyscira… And the only person who can help her find the way is her mortal enemy, Cheetah! Liam Sharp’s art has a Roman quality to it and weirdly enough, some of the panels reminded me of Don Lawrence’s art on The Trigan Empire. This a great, action packed-story that serves to remind us why Diana is Wonder Woman. A good starting point if you don’t want to wade through another origin story, because let’s face it, some heroes don’t need it!
WONDER WOMAN: EARTH ONE (VOL.1)
Grant Morrison (w), Yanick Paquette (a)
But of course as times change, some heroes do need an origin, so….Here we have The Morrison Meta Method! Using the elements surrounding Diana’s creation (by William Moulton Marston) as a fictional character influencing her existence as that character (which, if you know anything about Marston, provides you with a lot of fertile ground)! Diana escapes Themyscira, literally running away from home and enters the world of man. On her return, she is put on trial to recount her reasons for doing this and we’re given a story that plays like a teen road trip movie.
Morrison injects everything with a good dose of wry, knowing comedy and Paquette’s art and panelling showcase the ideas this book is brimming with in the best light possible. This was originally supposed to be part of Morrison’s burgeoning ‘Multiversity Too Universe‘ (in itself a relaunch of DC’s ‘Elseworlds‘ imprint) but was restructured for a single-volume when that project was delayed. Whether that alters the experience of reading it for you or not, this is a worthy addition to WW canon.
WONDER WOMAN: VOL.1 (THE NEW 52!)
Brian Azzarello (w), Cliff Chiang (a)
As much as I really didn’t like the New 52, this was one of the exceptions to the run of bad character make-overs and soft reboots. The real USP here was bringing on a writer whose primary talent wasn’t superhero books (no offence, Brian). Azzarello is a crime writer, through and through. He makes his statement of intent with the book’s subtitle: Blood. This is a book about family and the secrets families keep from each other. When that’s you and me, maybe its no big thing. But when you’re a super-powered God…
The real draw for me on this book is the pre-Papergirls Cliff Chiang. His etched, filmic style makes no attempt to overly sexualise Diana or anyone else in the book. It’s a Wonder Woman built for war and that in combination with Matthew Wilson’s broad colour-palette makes the book a joy to dive into!
WONDER WOMAN: THE TRUE AMAZON
Jill Thompson (w, a) Hardcover Only
Another origin story (bear with me) this is Sandman artist Jill Thompson’s take on the myth. This time around we start with Diana as a child, spoiled and given free reign as daughter of the Queen Of The Amazons. Thompson adds something that is highly prevalent in the Origins of other DCU characters, but previously missing from Diana’s beginnings: tragedy. Rather than being a willing, curious emissary for her people and then a hero to mankind, she is a woman seeking redemption. This a beautiful, heartfelt story presented in a fantastic looking hardcover addition.
DIANA PRINCE: WONDER WOMAN (VOL.1)
Mike Sekowsky (w, a)
This is just odd… When sales of the regular WW book dipped to catastrophic depths in the late 60’s, Sekowsky re-imagined the character as a powerless spy, a woman for the liberated age. No powers and no costume didn’t mean no problems, however, as Diana finds herself battling foreign agents and helping troubled teens… And later in the run, she even opens a mod boutique! Diana of Themyscira is… a small business owner. A superhero book for people that don’t like superhero books!
That concludes our latest Quick Cuts! Wonder Woman is now showing at The Cineworld Leicester Square. You can read Liz’s spoiler-free review here and for a lesson in comics history, listen to The Orbiting Pod’s Comic Book Classroom: Wonder Woman 101.
Remember, Orbital will have a pop-up shop at The Imax Cineworld Leicester Square for every major comic-book movie this year, offering you reduced-price graphic novels if you’re a Cineworld ticket-holder!
Thanks for reading and we’ll catch you at the movies!