Author: Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette
Release Date: Today!
Publisher: DC Comics
Source: DC Comics on Edelweiss (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
Check this book out on Goodreads.
Critically acclaimed, best-selling writer Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman, Batman, Inc.) once again pushes the boundaries of the graphic novel page in his mind-bending new take on the most powerful woman in the DC Universe. With stunning art by Yanick Paquette (Swamp Thing),Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 1 is an easily accessible jumping on point for new readers. (Source: Goodreads)Wonder Woman: Earth One is a take on Wonder Woman’s origin story. Told through the trial held for her after she leaves for mans world with Steve Trevor, Wonder Woman’s past and future are woven by the fates.
I’ve had to mull this book over in my head a lot and really talk it through, and even then I’m still not really sure how I feel about it. I found the story interesting, and while I’m no expert on anything Wonder Woman I don’t think it’s my favourite version of the character. I didn’t like the art at all, which really held me back from being crazy about the book in general. I’m not sure what Morrison was trying to do with this story, it didn’t really add anything to the mythos of Wonder Woman or give me any new insight into her as a character. The gender politics were also kind of all over the place.
The story is a little messy, using the frame of Wonder Woman’s trial to tell the story of her growing up in Themyscira, her departure from the island with Steve Trevor, and what she finds in man’s world. I thought that her story was interesting but I don’t know that it was particularly well developed. It felt a little like going through the motions of a well known story without really adding much of interest beyond her being Hercules’ daughter in this version. I didn’t find it all that compelling to be honest either, this was largely due to characterization.
I didn’t connect with anyone in this book. They all felt like statues rather than characters, idols to be watched but not known. I didn’t care about Diana, which is a shame because Diana is usually a really compelling and empathetic character. Steve Trevor was just…there? There did some modern updates, he is no longer the white, blond man you remember, but a modern African-American male, which was great diversity for this comic, but didn’t really make him any more interesting. On Themyscira we see all sorts of women but don’t get to know any of them, which is disappointing. The standout character in this for me was Etta Candy, and I don’t know if that’s for any good reason. Etta is loud and boisterous and funny like you expect, she’s confident in her body – despite all kind of uncomfortable body shaming from the Amazons, which was excellent. There are some egregious nods to Etta’s candy addictions from older comics, which just felt kind of blah. I didn’t really care about her at all.
The gender politics of this comic were kind of all over the place. We’re not supposed to shame Wonder Woman for wearing next to nothing but it’s hard not to when she’s slutted up to high heaven for what feels like the male gaze, as this comic did not feel aimed at me – a young, white female much like Diana herself. We’re supposed to love Etta while the Amazon’s shame the crap out of her for being curvy and unhealthy. The Amazon’s are supposed to feminist figures but they sure feel like horrible “feminazis”. I didn’t know how to feel about anyone or anything, and I think that’s kind of the curse of Wonder Woman. We have expectations for her to be a feminist icon and I don’t know if most of the writers really do that justice. I didn’t really feel like this one did.
The art, as I’ve said, was just no good for me. Wonder Woman was supposed to be sexy but was sort of hypersexual in a way that kind of grossed me out. The too high cut on her bikini bottoms felt more gross than sexy, her breasts were large to the point of making the rest of her look comically small. There were other issues of depth and texture for me that made everything feel weirdly flat and undefined, and that just felt extremely disappointing. I didn’t like the Wonder Woman design in this, maybe her initial costume was alright, but overall she seemed overly done up.
The more I go over this book in my head the more trouble I have actually liking it. The story to me was dull, the politics poorly conceived, the art lackluster, and the characters blank and emotionless. There was nothing to really invest me in any of it long term. I’d seek out other Wonder Woman stories before this one.