Wonder Woman: Earth One (Vol. 2) by Grant Morrison

details
Title: Wonder Woman.
Story-Arc: Earth One.
Volume: 2.
Writer(s): Grant Morrison.
Illustrator(s): Yanick Paquette, Nathan Fairbairn & Todd Klein.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Hardcover.
Release Date: October 9th 2018.
Pages: 120.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401281175.
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
Wonder Woman: Earth One (Vol. 1) by Grant Morrison

thoughts

After what was certainly the most disappointing story by Grant Morrison yet, we finally return to the provocative retelling of Wonder Woman’s origin story in this second volume of DC Comics’ Earth One graphic novel line-up. It’s safe to say that the return of the same creative team to work on this second book of the trilogy is a reassuring thought as the sudden shift in artwork style wouldn’t have played a positive role on what is already a controversial story arc for Diana Prince. With the foundation of this story set in a discourse on feminism, patriarchy and everything that shines bright in the news nowadays, there’s definitely a mystery behind Morrison’s direction and where he wishes to bring this series in terms of story-telling. It’s safe to say that Grant Morrison’s take on the character is one that won’t please the mass unanimously, but it does have the potential to trigger some much-needed reflection on issues we blatantly discuss in our everyday lives today.

Following the events in the first volume, this graphic novel shows us Wonder Woman trying to change the world outside Paradise Island with her own vision of society melded through love and peace. While slowly becoming an icon for women, she also encounters several different oppositions in various forms, and notably, the American government and it’s men-filled structure. With threats that flourishes in their old ways in Man’s World, nothing Diana Prince wishes to accomplish is easy and everything comes at a price. Putting behind his nonlinear story-telling ways, Grant Morrison looks to further develop his clash of ideals through multiple perspectives while still keeping this retelling as shocking as possible. Will voicing your ideas be enough to convince the world for change or will Wonder Woman need to reinforce her words with action to get things done?

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While this Earth One series hasn’t been too successful in my books, it is quite courageous of Grant Morrison to stay loyal to Wonder Woman’s character roots and deliver such a story for fans of the hero to indulge. The second volume of this series continues to stay loyal to its predecessor, but actually builds up an intrigue that relentlessly tries to keep you hooked, even if it doesn’t always connect with the reader. The story still shoehorns a lot of social issues into play, with transsexualism and terrorism being some examples of ideas being integrated and questioned on a philosophical level. While interesting, they always felt like side dishes forced onto the reader to gulp up quickly without ever having the time to savour them. It was still fun, to some extent, to see how Wonder Woman deals with these issues that she has never seen on Paradise Island and how she strongly believes that they are inevitably the cause of men.

The artwork is still pretty solid and continues to highlight Diana Prince’s confidence and charisma through her posture and smile. What Yanick Paquette and Nathan Fairbairn achieve is definitely gorgeous to the naked eye and makes it easy to breeze through their combined craft without second-guessing their designs. It sometimes even brought me to gaze at some of their designs for their mere creativity, such as the Wonder Niqab. While some might call it culture appropriation, the context made it slightly more appropriate and worth wondering how much Wonder Woman needs to do to adapt to international conflicts if she wants to get her beliefs through. The vibrant colours and the large panels—which in fact aren’t traditional square panels—also make it a lot easier to follow what’s going on without being lost in the narrative.

It’s not easy to indulge a Wonder Woman that believes that men should kneel to feminism if they want to see world peace, but when you’ve grown on an isolated island with only women and have not known any form of war, it’s definitely easy to understand why Diana Prince is confident in her ways. But what is to come in the next story arc will surely shed more light on her understanding on Man’s World and its focus on cultural diversity and differences.


EXHIBITA

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

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32 comments

  • I really want to comment but I just can’t say anything right now without swearing or resorting to saying things that I just can’t say. I’ll try again tomorrow, hopefully…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I already have a pretty good idea of how you feel regarding some of these subjects, especially anything that falls into the whole “social justice” baggage too. 😂 An enraged Bookstooge is always welcome to share his opinion, to rant away and to let loose whenever he wants hahaha. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      • It didn’t help that I’d just written 2 reviews about books featuring groups of characters that were thoroughly unlikeable. I was in a rather foul mood.

        So anyway.

        My issue with something like this, in speaking to real world issues, is that the creators are inherently dishonest. It has never bothered me that Amazonialand (because I can’t remember the island’s name) was in perfect peace, because it wasn’t real. And, there were even stories about one Amazonian or another being WW’s main enemy. So this fabled peace was a rather iffy thing.

        But to start with a false premise, extrapolate false results and then use those results in addressing real world issues is annoying to say the least. The dishonesty is like grit in scrambled eggs. It doesn’t have to be much but it ruins the whole thing.

        You’d think I’d be used to it, as that has always been going on in comics. But it still annoys me to no end and I suspect it will as long as it continues 🙂

        /rant

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yep. The women from Paradise Island (it’s how they call Amazonialand here hahah) basically see it as a flawless utopia, until Wonder Woman wants more out of her life than what she’s restricted to. She definitely believes that complete submission (pretty much a dictatorship) of men would help the real world achieve that very utopia, but no one would know if that is true without blind faith. I guess to some extent the idea of using this “false result” and to apply to the real world is simply to tease the “potential” of it all, even if we know that it would never be a clean or successful transition or solution to real-world issue. 😂 I think the ideas could’ve been delivered differently, but what we get here is simply too much to absorb..

          Liked by 1 person

  • Okay, so you enjoyed this more than volume 1, but I can’t really tell why from your review. Lack of non-linear storytelling? I am glad you called out how great the design is– I like the escape from the traditional panels which they seem to have continued in Volume 2.

    Do any of these modern day issues feel like they are being thrown in for the sake of it? It sounds like Diana is tackling a LOT!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry to hear that you couldn’t tell why I found it slightly better than its predecessor. To summarize, I’d say its how its not non-linear anymore, you don’t start the story already knowing how it ends, you actually have a identifiable goal for Diana and you see who the “villains” are, and you also already know what you’re in for by picking up volume 2, making it easier to “enjoy”. Then again, It was pretty much a 2.5 rounded up, and I think an immediate reread might not be beneficial for the rating. 😂 And yes, some issues were in there just to be in there and make it modern. A bit unfortunate, if you ask me.

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  • Wonder woman is as I think I have said before next to Batman my favorite DC character. It’s interesting that this book is adressing some real world issues, but I definitely understand what you are saying about just forcing these on the reader. Still, it does sound like this book isn’t half bad, and the art really looks very good😊 It’s amazing how many comicbooks you are reading these days though: wow! Great post as always! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • It might indeed be to the taste of many who dare embrace its radical ideas, and its always a good thing if the art also works in their favour. 😁 I’d be curious to hear more people’s opinion on this series just to find out how they feel about it all. And yes hahaha I don’t particularly have a super fast reading speed to read multiple huge novels per week so I content myself with comic books hahah 😂 I’m also letting Trang compensate with her reviews, especially anything YA she reads 😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, no problem at all! I love comic books as you know, and like you I have a hard time reading books these days, so I say: keep these posts coming, as they are awesome to read ! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m glad to hear that hahah I don’t think there are many out there who review comic books too so I’m glad to be a source for some comic books out there for everyone who follows hahah 😁

          Liked by 1 person

  • It sounds like they perhaps had a list of issues they were determined to mention before they go through the thing! I hate that sense of things being “ticked off” – I think the point of talking about an issue is to do it in an interesting nuanced way, not just to say you’ve brought it up. It’s a shame these don’t sound so great!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Well what a review! And yes you have to admire an author for being true to the character and making courageous choices. The drawing are really gorgeous and remind me of the 50ies pin ups with black lips, black hair and generous curves!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! It is definitely bold of him to do what he did to Wonder Woman, but at least he’ll have been the first to bring it back to life! 😁 and yes, you’re so right about the art hahah All the Amazons do have a similar body type too, which was clearly intended to identify the “ideal” body. 😞

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  • Another thought-provoking review. I think it’s hard for authors to really strike the right balance when trying to bring in topical but contentious issues. Too light and it’s seen as dismissive too much and it’s preachy. I’m glad some are making the attempt as these are issues that need to be discussed more openly… but it ain’t easy. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said! And to do through one of the most recognized and popular hero ever? It was sure to draw attention! But, like you said, it’s definitely a good thing that these issues/topics are being the center of attention in some stories. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

    • A very brave direction! Great ideas! It’s just how its delivered that will likely not be to everyone’s taste. 😂

      P.S. Thanks so much for binging through so many posts! Didn’t think you’d actually do such a thing!!! 😂 😘 Welcome back to the blogging game!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  • A writing and story telling gimmick has to really work before I buy it… I’m skeptical because it means you have a boring story and are trying to jazz it up. It sounds like the author is trying to capture the female audience?! Did it seem like that to you Lashaan? I’m not that into beating social issues to death TBH (though I certainly keep abreast of them), but it sounds like an audience thing. I just started to do instagram again and your lovely exhibit to so well photographed!! GAHHHHHHH! It looks like you used a light box?! Anyway great review and I’m glad you enjoyed this more that the previous issue. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • While the first volume did blow everything out of proportion and gave us an unexpected provocative story, this one definitely went for something more boring but linear and cohesive, to some extent. I don’t know if it’s really trying to catch a female audience though. This series feels more like it’s trying to give us a portrait of an idea in its most extreme form just to reflect upon it hahah But it does feel like all the side-issues integrated in the story was to appeal a certain politically-immersed audience. Wahh, thanks for the kind words for the exhibit! 😍 I rarely ever get any comments regarding those pictures hahah I just keep on using the same style for all my books just to not overburden myself by trying to be extra-creative (which would take so much of my time, time that I barely have hahhaha)! Actually didn’t use any light box, it just goes through a whole editing process on photoshop 😂😂 Nice to know that it can get people thinking that I used some kind of gimmick to make it work! 😁 Thanks for reading Daniii!!

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  • Another fantastic review Lashaan, I really do love the way you isolate the core themes of the narrative which is something that always speaks to me and I’m always searching for. Sure, sometimes superhero comics just serve to entertain and I enjoy that but when they reach deeper, that really gets my attention.

    It seems this a troublesome take on Wonder Woman that’s trying to honour the character’s roots but ultimately feels dated in the 21st Century. I get the sense that Morrison is forcing too much in and it’s not really paying off. I think Greg Rucka’s Rebirth run may be a better read for you – that, along with the film are more positive iterations of WW for me personally (I do plan to check the classic George Perez and John Byrne runs one day though).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks man. Same here. I do prefer an underlying theme being thoroughly explored in the story over pure melee combat sequences ahhaha!

      Yep, I would never recommend this soon-to-be trilogy to anyone as their first experience of Wonder Woman in the comic book medium. I actually hoped to check out Brian Azzarello’s New 52 run at some point too. Have you actually been checking out all the Rebirth runs? I have the impression you’ve experienced all of them and can tell which are worth or not worth checking out hahah

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