Wonder Woman: Earth One (Vol. 1) by Grant Morrison

details
Title: Wonder Woman.
Story-Arc: Earth One.
Volume: 1.
Writer(s): Grant Morrison.
Illustrator(s): Yanick Paquette, Nathan Fairbairn & Todd Klein.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Hardcover.
Release Date: April 6th 2016.
Pages: 144.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401229788.
My Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆.
Previously on the Earth One series:
Superman: Earth One (Vol. 1) by J. Michael Straczynski
Batman: Earth One (Vol. 1) by Geoff Johns
Green Lantern: Earth One (Vol. 1) by Gabriel Hardman

thoughts

As part of DC Comics’ Earth One graphic novel line-up, a brand-new retelling of Wonder Woman’s origin story is presented to fans by the one and only Grant Morrison. With the help of artist Yanick Paquette, colourist Nathan Fairbairn annd letterer Todd Klein, the first volume of Wonder Woman’s tale draws inspiration on her vast and colourful lore, but also implements a heavy dose of feminism to turn it into one of the most provocative story within this series. Although Grant Morrison is known for his non-linear storytelling and his talent to go against the currents, he never fails to surprise fans and force them to see beyond the walls of their comfort zone. This project however depicts a Wonder Woman that is not easy to acquaint with, and almost impossible to admire with the direction it takes and the messages it pushes down your throat.

In this story, the Amazons of Paradise Island is safe from the vile presence of men and their despicable ways. Unable to thrive and convinced that there is more to the world than what her mother Hippolyta unveils to her, Diana, Princess of the Amazons, roams around the island in isolation and frustration. It is the unfortunate—or fortunate—crash-landing of Air Force pilot Steve Trevor that Diana sees an opportunity for change. The injured Afro-american—nothing like a ethnicity change to spark some discussion in what is already controversial—also finds himself in a sticky situation with political issues festering in what is called Man’s World. The story hence develops to slowly reveal the verdict of the trial Diana faces among her people for breaking their law, a law that forbids them to embrace a world filled with a gender that had wronged them.

wonderwomanearthone_quote1

The underlying politics that were highlighted and intentionally extravagant left a sour taste in my mouth. I’m open-minded to all ideologies, but when they are pushed to their extremes and showcase evident flaws that don’t respect any form of equality or justice, I start to question their basis. In this volume of Wonder Woman: Earth One, feminism reaches new heights and Diana serves as the platform to deliver the message. If looked at objectively, the idea is not impossible considering what kind of stories she was fed by her mother throughout her whole life and the values that were implanted within her women-only society. But the execution and Wonder Woman’s display of her authority and sense of rightness gave it an edge that cut too deep into the philosophy to make me want to feel any admiration for her behaviour and beliefs. It was even less appealing when other themes were also integrated, such as fat-shaming, for no other purposes but to distinguish women from one another, to establish the strong from the weak, those who were tainted by the presence of men in their lives from those who lived without their repulsive personalities and ideologies. Eh…

The story is also told in an non-linear style with flashbacks being the main narrative technique to unveil the main action scenes. While the idea isn’t bad at all, it is the execution through the artwork that didn’t leave any lasting impression. Too often I found myself confused by the reading order and wondered if it was just me or an issue with the story-telling style. Speaking of artwork, it isn’t necessarily bad at all, but with the dialogue that conveyed a pretentious and know-it-all vibe, the artwork helped put a face towards whom I could direct all the hate it was mustering out of me. I particularly had a hard time looking at Diana’s face that remained poised, rested and overconfident. Too often it felt like she thought she knew better than everyone else, and that’s not exactly the kind of leader I’d want to follow.

Did I mention the excessive sexual innuendo that permeates throughout the story? From bondage to groping, it was safe to say that this graphic novel wasn’t just looking to provoke in terms of ideas, and in all honesty, I was surprised that it didn’t venture into pure nudity even if it was sometimes very close to it. Wonder Woman: Earth One was clearly the worse volume of this series, and a bit too disappointing considering the respect I have for Grant Morrison. I’m praying the next volume will do better, but something tells me I’m in for a surprise.


EXHIBITA

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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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21 comments

  • Nothing like a bad comic book to raise your ire, eh? I’m with you on this one – but then, I find the character of Wonder Woman a tad problematic from the start 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was too extreme for its own good. I have a hard time finding any appreciation for it. And yes, WW’s character is quite peculiar. Have you seen or heard of the movie they made about the creator of WW? It was a pretty recent one.

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  • Hmm, that is really too bad. After Batman wonder woman is easily my favorite DC character, so it’s a bit sad to see her make an appearance in a comic that doesn’t really do her justice (league 😂). Luckily lately you have read quite a big number of comics that were very good, so it’s bound to happen that you run into one that is less so. As always though, this was a very good and objective review! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahahh it is indeed sad that it turned out like this. I wouldn’t recommend this story as anyonne’s first experience of WW. It is likely to leave a bad impression. Thanks for reading, good sir! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • This is EXACTLY how I felt about Wonder Woman: Earth One. Sadly, it was the first Earth One I picked up, so I stopped there. It was like Morrison was trying desperately to hook the audience with feminism, yet everything seemed so counter to the ideals of the feminism I support and admire. Yes, this goes a bit back to her origin and original ideation– but we’ve moved on from that on purpose. I love the art and the coloring… but the story left something to be desired.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh man, I would never recommend this story for anyone as their first experience of Wonder Woman either. Wish it went down differently for you, so far Green Lantern’s Earth One story was the best of the bunch. And yes, I totally agree. Morrison took those ideas a bit too far and came off a little too strong to get me to appreciate it any more than I did here… As bad as it was, I’m still curious to see what else insane ideas he’s got for volume 2 and 3 hahaha 😀 Thanks for reading Jackie! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  • Awesome review sir! Like yourself I’m open-minded when it comes to various ideologies (in no small part thanks to wonderful parents and my love for Star Trek) and I found your examination on the themes and how they are executed fascinating. It’s interesting that there’s a strong element of sexual innuendo, which ties back to those original Wonder Woman stories and the history of the character’s creation (I can’t actually bring myself around to watching ‘Professor Marston and Wonder Woman’ as I think it’ll be TOO much of an eye-opener).

    I’m kind of always a bit indecisive about Grant Morrison, I’m receptive to a complex narrative but I feel some of his work is just too out-there and too much hard work. I like ‘All-Star Superman’ but do find it overrated, ‘Batman: Gothic’ on the other hand I love but his pre-New52 Batman run was a bit hit and miss for me. I’m intrigued to see what he does with Green Lantern.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Chris! I find it essential for everyone to be open-minded about all ideologies and how they are understood/used by everyone, especially when it comes to religion, for example. And yes, I think Grant Morrison was going for that too, to go back to the roots of Wonder Woman’s character. It’s a nice idea, but man does it sting when you see how intense the ideas are within this retelling. I too wanted to give that movie a shot, but I’m not sure if it’ll be a good thing in the long run for me whenever I’ll run into Wonder Woman’s character in the future. I’ll still keep the movie on my mind and give it a shot when the mood/time is right.

      I totally understand. I definitely have to say he’s the most insane of all writers at DC Comics for me, but some of his stories are indeed so multi-layered and complex that they turn out to be pretty fascinating and worthy of praise. But then there’s the more hectic and messy stories, like Final Crisis (or his Batman run). I did love his Batman run to some extent as it really expands Batman’s lore in directions no one would have imagined. There are still a couple more stories I haven’t checked out yet by him, but I really do need to be in a certain mood to dive into his stuff. Especially out of fear of running into something like this Wonder Woman story hahah

      Liked by 1 person

  • Great thorough review.
    In terms on non linear storytelling in general: it’s one thing to use it for background, and maybe the reader has to work a little harder, but to the point where the reader is flipping back and forth to even figure out the basic plot, ugh!

    Liked by 1 person

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