Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons is a series that has been years in the making. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Jimenez have been hard at work developing the concept from conversations, to character design, and now the first chapter of a magnum opus surrounding Hera and the Amazons. Dubbed by DeConnick as a “Homeric epic with a woman at the center,” it’s all that and more as the preview surely can attest to, but what kind of reading experience is it? In short, it’s nothing like you’ve ever seen or read.
This work is as epic as any story you’ll read from a comics publisher. In some ways, it reminded me of Darren Aronofsky and Kent Williams’s graphic novel The Fountain, as its painterly quality and mesmerizing visuals will have you lingering on every page. It’s a work that’ll have you soaking in the smallest bush, panel, or antler rendered amongst a plethora of panels that feel visionary. It may be the greatest representation of gods in modern comics I’ve seen, giving each god a stunning moment to capture your awe and attention.
You could enjoy this book without reading a single word, instead just paging through to take in the symmetry of each page’s layout or subtle details in the art. The colors by Hi-Fi, Arif Prianto and Romulo Fajardo Jr. are sumptuous and rich. The book is otherworldly in how it depicts these gods as glittering and incomprehensible to the human mind and eye.
The words on the page are also intriguing, of course, as they detail the many figures that make up the story. On the first page, we get a character description of the goddesses starting with Hestia, Artemis, Demeter, Hecate, Aphrodite, and Athena. They’re visualized almost as tarot cards, which gives them an additional layer of magical unreality. We soon meet Hera and begin to understand her place amongst the gods.
It’s here in the story where the role of Zeus is revealed, adding an interesting layer and making this a story about man vs. woman. The story feels so vast and incomprehensible to humans, which suits the nature of the story and its place from a reader’s perspective. It can be difficult to wrap your head around it all — footnotes might have helped to fill in gaps, but the vastness of these characters and the rules they live by is kind of the point.
It’s not all about gods, though — there is a scene on Earth that’s very important. Ultimately, this is the first chapter in a story that has built up an explanation for the hierarchy of goddesses and what came from them. From that is built a rather complex layer of figures that will likely play a big part on Earth.
Once the first issue is over, keep reading, as there are some great character designs by Jimenez along with descriptions and details for each. The use of sepia tone gives it a historical feel. The details by Jimenez in these costumes are impressive.
Between the art and story, this book is going to light a fire in your imagination. It can feel incomprehensible and confusing at times, but that’s kind of the point as we witness inconceivable meetings between gods with impossible powers. Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons is an intellectual feast for the eyes that challenges the senses and the very idea of gods in comics.
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