There isn’t a better time to learn more about Wonder Woman who’s soon to be appearing in a feature film—Batman vs. Superman—for the very first time. Who knows what they’ll take from the comics to flesh out her character, so why not read up on the character to see how true she is to the comics? With an Earth One origin story being written by Grant Morrison coming out this spring we better catch up on her back story now, but where should we start?
The World According to Wonder Woman (Insight Editions)
In a lot of ways this book is written like Diana’s diary as she explains her story in the first person. The book is broken into 27 chapters running two or so pages each. Topics range from the way of the warrior to living amongst humans and a recap of her family and foes. It’s a personalized story from Diana’s voice about how she fits in the world and how she ticks.
Here are five reasons Wonder Woman is a character worth exploring:
1. She’s a god.
More often than not we’ve heard movie directors and storytellers say superheroes are the Greek gods of today. We worship them with action figures and movies and Wonder Woman is a hero that’s closer to that comparison than most others. That’s because she’s part god, as her father is Zeus, but also because her recent retelling has whole heartedly placed her within Greek mythology. This not only sets her apart from the other heroes in the Justice League, but it instantly gives her a rich background that can be mined for stories.
This book explores her godly siblings, the locations they live in and the weight of being a god in general.
First person perspective!
2. She has the most unique weapon of any hero.
Call Batman the greatest detective available, but with the Lasso of Truth how can Wonder Woman not be in the conversation?! Given, she doesn’t typically solve crimes or go on detective work, but damn is her lasso one of the coolest weapons a hero has to offer. It not only makes her more altruistic and heroic, but its potential to unlock mysteries goes without saying. This book explores her other weapons like her staff and bracelets too. Her weapons define her and separate her from the pack.
3. She’s a warrior.
While other heroes are doing the right thing because it’s their job (Green Lantern), their duty (The Flash) or because nobody else will (Superman), Wonder Woman is doing it because she was born and trained to fight. This book goes into her training as a youth and the requirement of being able to fight and not kill. Instead she used a staff to learn the ways of battle, but not of killing. Of all the heroes she’s the one with the most training with the God of War as her trainer too. It’s easy to forget she’s the soldier of the group.
4. Wonder Woman has a killer supporting cast.
We’ve already mentioned she’s half god, but did you know she recently became the God of War? Or that Hades, Artemis, Poseidon and Aphrodite to name a few are main players in her storyline? Her direct siblings all have powers too, and this book delves into those relationships. On top of that she has a relationship to the heroes of the DCU which are explored in this book, including Starfire, Vixen, and Batgirl. That’s a strong combination of old and new stories melding together.
5. She has a complex relationship with men.
Everyone knows Amazonians are women who live on an island called Paradise Island devoid of men. They don’t trust them and without Wonder Woman’s help Captain Steve Trevor would not have made it home alive after crashing on the island. Is there a female character with a more complex outlook on relationships in this very progressive world we live in? This book delves into her saving Steve, but also his role as Justice League overseer in a “Conspiracies of Men” chapter.
A varied set of enemies.
This is a definitive look at Wonder Woman in her own voice. I don’t think there’s anything else like it as it’s spoken directly from her mouth, making this a unique and compelling take on the character. Writer Mathew K. Manning does a good job speaking in her voice which makes this a fun read as it’s not as cold as many official guides tend to be. I will admit the writing is probably more suited for a younger audience; the writing style isn’t too complex and it doesn’t go too deeply into her psyche, but that’s okay. It delves into many aspects of Wonder Woman’s life and works very well to round out who she is for anyone looking to refresh themselves on the new more godly version of the character.
The art follows the voice and seeming age range for this book too as it’s overly simple at times, but adequate at suiting each chapter. Paul Bulman is the artist for this work and in most cases his art serves more as a pinup, as most chapters resort to one image across an entire page. There are nice pages for sure, especially the pullout quadruple page spread of the Gods and the double page lineup of the monsters, but overall most of these pages aren’t going to wow you enough to pull out and slap on your wall. Overall though it suits the purpose of the book and the audience.
A great double page spread.
Is It Good?
Running 63 pages in a wider format this book does a fantastic job exploring the character, albeit with simplistic art. It may not delve too deeply into story or psychology, but it’s a great primer for anyone wanting to know more about the newer, more godlike version of Wonder Woman. Bottom line it’s a great gift for a kids and a good gift for fans of the character in general. This is a definitive look at Wonder Woman in her own voice.