I do not consider myself to be a comic book nerd. I went to most of the Marvel movies (usually with my Dad), and I remember reading Fantastic Four and Spider-Man comics he would let me borrow, but I never really read past that.
I was a Marvel kid – if you can call non-comic-book-nerd-me that at all. And I couldn’t tell you when I learned about Wonder Woman, or what made me like Wonder Woman; all I know is that I’ve just … really liked her.
In … late 2012, early 2013, maybe? I know I was working at Torrid in the mall, because I bought a bunch of these issues at Newbury Comics down the hall from my store – but anyway, DC Comics decided to reboot their entire line of comics. All of them. From Batman down to … I dunno, whatever hero the CW is going to go with to replace Arrow? Anyway, I purchased probably a good two and a half of these volumes when they were the actual comics, and I still have them here, in my house – in fact, I believe they are in a plastic tub in the library, waiting for their permanent home. (No, I haven’t finished unpacking. I will get to it. Eventually. If you want to know why I haven’t invited you to my house, it’s because I don’t want Judgy McJudgerson looking around at my half-empty tubs of things that still need to be unpacked and then glancing at me in pity. I’VE BEEN BUSY, LEAVE ME ALONE)
Anyway. At the same time as I was catching up with the Hawkeye series, I was also catching up on the Wonder Woman series that was relaunched again, somewhere between 2011 and 2013 that was branded as “the New 52,” referring to the 52 different heroes and book titles that DC had to reboot.
And I was excited – you know me, I love origin stories! Or, at least, reading series from the beginning! And again, I knew I liked Wonder Woman, and I knew she had a lasso of truth and bulletproof bracelets and an invisible jet, and she didn’t kill people, and as far as I could tell she didn’t turn to crime-fighting because someone murdered her parents in an alley after the opera (or whatever); but I didn’t know where she came from. So I appreciated that The New 52 would provide an origin for me to begin with Wonder Woman.
Hoo boy, did it seem convoluted at times.
Long story (six compilation volumes long) short (I’m trying): In this version of lore, Wonder Woman/Diana was not formed from clay because Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons, wanted a child; Diana was the product of a liaison between Hippolyta and Zeus. Hera, Zeus’ wife, is extremely jealous of all of Zeus’s children conceived with other women. The story begins when Hera sends a couple of her minions to kill the latest girl Zeus impregnated, Zola. Hermes is there to protect her, and he sends Zola to Diana for safekeeping.
The plot appears to be a pretty banal, “protect the pregnant woman from assassins” type of deal. But as you read, you learn that Zola and her child are just pawns in a plot to take down the entire Greek pantheon of gods – Zeus’s first son, an unnamed, quasi-Titan who had been banished to … I dunno, Antarctica, let’s say, has resurfaced and is making a play for the throne. Zeus is missing. Apollo is getting his family together – including Ares, Strife, and Artemis – to call a council and determine a successor to Olympia, who he hopes to be himself. And also, Diana is there.
See, there’s a prophecy – there’s always a prophecy – that one of Zeus’s children will kill another. And they seem to think it’s Zola’s baby that will do that, which is why there are so many people aside from Hera interested in killing Zola and/or the baby before the baby is born. But surprise surprise, the prophesied god killer is actually Diana; before the end of the series, she is named a full-fledged god in the pantheon, practically against her will.
The series, as I said, is convoluted. There is occasional humor, and Diana always operates from the warmth and compassion she is known for, but … I dunno, I guess I was hoping for more standard comic book villains and not, y’know, Greek gods? Not that that’s a bad thing; it just wasn’t what I expected.
Anyway. I’m glad that Wonder Woman came out in 2017 and gave me a better origin story than The New 52 did. (Although yes, I totally agree that the third act of that movie is crap on a stick and I thank all gods, new and old, that Wonder Woman 84 has nothing to do with Zack Snyder.)
Grade for Wonder Woman, volumes 1 – 6: 2.5 stars