There is nothing like Wonder Woman Historia and there probably won’t be for some time. It’s a work that builds on what we know of myth and builds on a rich history that feels real and only now becoming known. The years in the making Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons gets its second chapter this week from Kelly Sue DeConnick and Gene Ha. The first issue, drawn by Phil Jimenez, introduced readers to a mythical world of gods and the start of what would become a road to the creation of the Amazons. In the second issue, it becomes ever more clear where the Amazons came from as Hippolyta sets out to find the Amazons.
It’s fascinating how DeConnick crafts this story so that it feels like an ancient text unfurled in comics form by Ha straight from history class. Each moment feels paramount, crafted in a way that is otherworldly. It’s at once real and true but also a fantasy where anything can happen. Unlike history class, though, it’s not boring and drab, but beautifully drawn and a spark to the imagination.
Depicted in a larger size with a longer page count, the reading experience ends up feeling special too. Gods like Hera look larger than life with beautiful gowns and lots of emotion. Colors by Wesley Wong add a rich layer to these beings or a sense of atmosphere that elevates a moment to something grander. Similar to the first issue there are epic double-page splashes, a mix of good layout design, and good character acting too.
Ha’s style suits this series right off the bat as he has a magical realism to his work. You can see it in Mae, and you can see it in the eyes and faces of even the human characters. There are some interesting visual concepts in this issue as well. In one example, when characters get violent, we see them in stark red cutting into enemies, but only ever see a shred of them as they dart behind or past their victims. It’s a neat look that creates an added level of mayhem. Ha also inserts faces and hidden elements that are fun to spot and if you missed them, you’ll get excellent insight in the “Behind the Panels” back matter section to go back and check them out.
If you were looking to pick nits, one could argue this story is slow. It’s a tale that washes over you at a slower pace. It’s doing everything it wants to do, though, so judging too harshly for that seems unfair. Ultimately this issue is only a handful of scenes with one in particular taking up most of its pages, making its narrative feel isolated in a historical context.
This is not just a story about the Amazons and Hippolyta “finding” them, but also about injustices towards women. In an incredible double-page splash, we get to see women throughout history being mistreated as Hera lashes out in anger. That theme is obvious when Hippolyta rescues female slaves and is paid off later still when one male is let go. If you were to think about how the Amazons function in the DC Comics universe and see how this story plays out you can see how one leads to another. It’s as if DeConnick deconstructed how the Amazons become isolated on an island and hated men and worked her way back to the moment it all began. Given how awful men are, and especially awful at the time Hippolyta lived, it’s not a stretch to see why the Amazons went in that direction.
There are many more gods in this issue, especially in the final pages, all depicted in beautiful garb with varying personalities. I dare readers to finish this and not want to learn more about Antiope or the six tribes depicted in this issue. Sure, Batman and Superman aren’t around, but there’s a rich tapestry of history and untold tales yet to be revealed. To know that the DC Comics universe goes back hundreds if not thousands of years is a tantalizing proposition.
Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons #2 is unlike any other comic on the stands. It offers readers a chance to see something truly special in a narrative about the Amazons never before told or seen. Drawn in a way that will leave you breathless, Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons should be on your pull list to see history being made.
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