Title: Wonder Woman.
Story-Arc: Earth One.
Writer(s): Grant Morrison.
Illustrator(s): Yanick Paquette, Nathan Fairbairn & Todd Klein.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Release Date: April 6th 2016.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
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
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.
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.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!