I know what you are thinking: Another origin story? Didn’t Earth One Vol 1 give a new spin on the story for the Rebirth launch? Yes, it did. However, because of the 75th anniversary of the Wonder Woman comics, DC tapped veteran Jill Thompson to create storylines and art work in her signature style. The panels are beautiful and full of emotion; the hair and wardrobe options for Diana and her co-stars are fatastic and stunning, in my opinion. Truly spectacular.
For a character that has been around for so long it is a shame that the fans haven’t gotten more graphic novels and side stories of Princess Diana and her crew throughout the years. Based on my research and consultants this is the first stand-alone book that has ever been penned for our Amazon warrior. This says a lot about how women, even superheroes, fare in the male dominated comic book world. Even one of the DC Holy Trinity is left behind regardless of popularity and sales because it is still thought that female leads can’t command the same respect and readership as the DC men.
Considering the 75th anniversary is giving way to a lot of firsts, with Wonder Woman fearure film is around the corner in 2017, I am glad to have been given the opportunity to read Jill’s alternate origin story which humanizes Diana’s upbringing. The artwork alone is superb and the writing is really brilliant and emotive. It is not a stretch to insist on a Wonder Woman that isn’t flawless and fierce considering that during her upbringing Queen Hypolita over protected her. There is no reason to believe that she couldn’t have been a spoiled insuferable brat during her early years. Youngest born daughter/ Princess complex anyone? If the gods gifted you with qualities beyond compare, in a place everyone reminded you of how much of a unique snowflake you are, wouldn’t you be a bit self absorbed too?
Think about it for a second. Diana grows up in a place where she is the Queen’s only heir. She is the Princess of the Amazons, and has an entire island full of women with exemplary talents meant to serve her and her mother. Whatever she desires is granted on a whim. When you are raised like this in an island paradise there is a risk that the grown ups will let you get away with murder. Though in past incarnations of the origin story Mars himself and the gods train the future warrior, give her the lasso, tiara and bracelets, and educate her about war, conflict and history, it was really bold to propose that she may have come to all these tools and enlightenment through her own experiences, quests and failures.
The turning point for Diana was moved away from Steve Trevor and the world of men to center around her selfish actions which cost the Amazons a beloved and very valuable asset, one she cannot reclaim and restore. Thus her shame is greater because there is no way to resolve the situation and she must live knowing her actions had a dire consequence. This forms in her a more mature sense of empathy and a cautious nature that later will become her signatures. To come back home she must repent and make amends. 🙂
I liked how by the end of the narrative Diana must leave Themyscira to embark on a journey of self discovery and redemption that turns her into the character we know and love. There is something regal and graceful about learning lessons the hard way. It is understandable that because Wonder Woman has always been a paragon of virtue and love many people disliked the direction of the story. Showing a version that is not perfect to a T can be annoying as this can make Diana seem petty, despicable and clueless, non-superheroe qualities that define the men in the genre, especially in the DC universe. But, as a person from which perfection has been highly expected, it was refreshing to meet a less glorified female lead; a more relatable, multidimensional and rich flawed character.
Expecting a super heroe to be kind and impressive from the get go with no faults almost questions whether or not the rest of us could truly aspire to become wonder women. I like the fact that in this alternate reality she is not squeaky clean and that she goes through a huge loss that gives her perspective. This is after all what most of us want from life: the ability to recognize failures as learning experiences and problems as opportunities for growth and development. This iteration may not be your Wonder Woman but it was within the parameters of what she could have turned out to be: human like me.