Writer: Grant Morrison | Art: Yanick Paquette | Colors: Nathan Fairbairn | Letters: Todd Klein
Right off the bat, I have to say that I am a Wonder Woman virgin. The only thing I know about Wonder Woman is that she was played by Lynda Carter, she flies an invisible plane, she was the best part of Batman v. Superman, and for some reason, even though she’s an actual Amazon queen, no one will cast Gina Torres as Wonder Woman. (Seriously, look it up. Gina Torres for Wonder Woman) So I came to this volume with an open mind and heart; ready to learn.
Earth One is an ongoing series from DC Comics that is a retelling of its heroes’ origin stories free from the constraints of continuity (read: free from the constraints of DC’s constant reboots and retooling of their characters). It’s written by Grant Morrison, who pulled heavily from Wonder Woman’s creator William Moulton Marston in paying homage to the character’s counter culture origins. His Diana Prince manages to be naïve, hyper-focused and strong, peaceful, and a dominatrix in a way that’s believable and true to how she was envisioned.
Our story opens with Hippolyta, who has been victimized by Hercules and finally fights back freeing the women and literally casting off the yoke of men to create the utopia of Paradise Island. Fast forward 3,000 years and Diana is being brought home in chains before her mother Hippolyta to account for her crime of consorting with the world of man. The story is told mainly through flashbacks as Diana and others recount her treason.
Although Diana is thousands of years old, in many ways she is just a teenager. The trial lays bare her insecurities over her place on Paradise Island, her desire to see the world, and her mother’s misguided attempts to hold on to her. Even her encounter with Steve Trevor (who in Morrison’s incarnation is a Black man which echoes the themes of being both a part of and outside of society) harkens to The Little Mermaid when Prince Eric washes up on the shore and is rescued by a naïve and rebellious Ariel. Diana is unique in that her curiosity for this world turns quickly into horror. Diana sees the potential of what she can do to help the man’s world, but she is not ignorant to its shortcomings, which gives some nuance to this fish-out-of-water scenario.
Overall, volume one gives Wonder Woman an origin story that long-time fans will recognize while emphasizing those characteristics that make Diana distinctive; her nonconformity, her compassion, and her devotion to truth.
The art is rendered beautifully by Yanick Paquette. Diana always looks sexy, but her mannerisms don’t exude sex. She feels almost kittenish and playful, but she can also be physically intimidating. The colors by Fairbairn are vibrant and layered, and the panels are woven with tiny details like braided rope in the trial scenes to invoke Diana’s lasso of truth. What will be interesting to see is how Diana will go on to interact with the world of men and if and how she will be accepted as a woman, a warrior, and as what some might see as weapon. Morrison has said that this story will have two more volumes, but a release date has not yet been set. As a standalone series, I highly recommend this to new and old fans of Wonder Woman.
Note: I want to thank Scott, a comic friend and angel. I was curious, but unsure about this comic and with the expense of a hardcover volume I dithered about whether or not this should be my introduction to Wonder Woman. Scott kindly purchased this for me after seeing my hesitation at the comic shop and it was a wonderful gesture. Not all heroes wear capes.
Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 1 is available on Amazon via hardcover and in Kindle & Comixology formats below.