Title: Wonder Woman: Dead Earth.
Writer(s): Daniel Warren Johnson.
Artist(s): DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON.
Colourist(s): Mike Spicer.
Letterer(s): Rus Wooton.
Publisher: DC Black Label.
Release Date: Decenber 1st, 2020.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating:
The future has always been easy for many to imagine. From the putrid, acid-filled, and chaotic disaster to the highly-technological, joyous, and stress-free paradise, humankind has allowed their imagination to go wild throughout history. Once rooted in actual global issues, it’s a bit more complicated to fancy a future that we’d love to leave for the next generation. Factor in the intervention of superheroes and it’ll be safe to say that anything is possible when it comes to the fate of humanity. Adding to DC’s adult-content Black Label imprint, Daniel Warren Johnson (Extremity, Murder Falcon) presents readers with his DC debut, a post-apocalyptic science-fiction and fantasy horror tale gravitating around Wonder Woman’s terrifying odyssey into a bleak future that no one could’ve seen coming.
What is Wonder Woman: Dead Earth about? The story follows Princess Diana of Themyscira and her discovery of an Earth reduced to a nuclear wasteland upon awakening from a centuries-long sleep. Led back to the last human city, Camp New Hope, she notices how the remaining human beings are barely surviving in these horrid conditions and vows to protect them from titanic monsters ravaging the world she once loved and protected with her whole being. As she tries to remember the events that led up to her slumber, she unearths the deep and dark secrets of this dead Earth and the role she might have had in the current state of the world. Feeling utterly defeated, she channels the iota of hope within her to try and make a difference that can allow humans to embrace a second chance at a life void of neglect, chaos, and destruction.
“I want to believe so bad. I want to have faith that you’re not going to let us down again. I want to believe that you mean us well.”— Daniel Warren Johnson
This what-if story offers fans the chance to discover an unprecedented level of grim narrative and gore with Wonder Woman at the heart of this calamity. Split into four issues, the story immerses you in a ghastly world that looks nothing like the Earth this hero has known and protected with her compatriots of the Justice League. As the story progresses, the reader is immediately introduced to the variety of world-building elements that help piece together the history and war that led to its current state. The subtle and sometimes very brutal connection to some of the iconic heroes who perished from the war also smoothly consolidates the universe in which this story takes place. However, there’s nothing more ghastly in this tale than the reveal of the source of destruction, following the divide on the matter of climate change, and what it implicates for the remaining humans in their own war against the strange creatures called haedras. Fortunately, through Wonder Woman, it is possible to identify the very virtues she fights for and recognize her iron will and belief that there is still good in everyone despite what her environment reveals, giving readers a vessel of hope in this dilapidated world.
The science-fiction and fantasy horror tone embraced by creator Daniel Warren Johnson is formidably established from the very beginning of this story without much effort. From Old Gotham to Themyscira, the consistency and coherence in style and atmosphere allow the world to take a life of its own and give way to an enthralling journey through macabre corners of the universe known to well-versed readers. Although certain stylistic details in the concept art for the characters and the world can be questionable due to logical concerns, they are quickly bundled into a visionary project that easily steers you away from those issues. Miker Spicer’s colours also give this graphic novel the alarming and gory edge that it requires to fully immerse the reader. It is mostly thanks to the underlying message of hope that this story manages to keep afloat and send readers off with the prospect of change, love, and happiness.
Wonder Woman: Dead Earth is a grim and horrifying post-apocalyptic tale with a hero searching for hope and opportunities for redemption.