Wonder Woman: Dead Earth by Daniel Warren Johnson

details
Title: Wonder Woman: Dead Earth.
Writer(s): Daniel Warren Johnson.
Artist(s): DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON.
Colourist(s): Mike Spicer.
Letterer(s): Rus Wooton.
PublisherDC Black Label.

Format
: Hardcover.
Release Date: Decenber 1st, 2020.
Pages: 208.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781779502612.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

thoughts

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.


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

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17 comments

  • My only exposure to Wonder Woman was Lynda Carter in the 70’s. Somehow I suspect this is quite a bit different from that. 🙂 I do like the idea behind it, and though my initial reaction to the arkwork was negative I do think it might fit a grim and dark story like this. I suspect I might even come around to liking it if I were drawn into the story. And it’s a small thing, but the font is different than I’m used to. Is the same font used throughout the entire book?

    Liked by 1 person

    • While I’m familiar with Lynda Carter’s iteration of Wonder Woman, I never really took the time to revisit her stuff back in the day, fearing that I was very likely to cringe my way through her adventures hahah 😀 When this graphic novel project was announced, I was skeptical with the artwork too, especially WW’s character design but I think the story and style allow it to work in the end, unless it really kills the reader’s impression from cover to cover. The lettering is maintaining throughout the story. It also fits with the artwork if you ask me. Nice eye on that, Todd! 😀

      Like

  • A good WW story? Well, color me intrigued, Lashaan!
    Great review, btw, I’m almost sold on this one – especially the guilt part 😂😂 though the art looks nothing special, tbh – not very dark or horror-y…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I won’t lie that I can see you point out a couple of flaws rather quickly for this one but I don’t think anyone can really say that it’s a disgustingly horrible plot though! 😛 I’m also with you there. I didn’t think it was going to dip its toe in horror but it does at times and it was conceptually shocking rather than visually. However, gore is gore, and there is plenty of that sprinkled throughout the story. 😛 I am glad to hear your interest in it though! I wonder what kind of reaction you’d have with this one! 😛 Thanks for reading, Ola!

      Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve just received my copy and am reading it right now. Loving it, so far.😀 I’ve never been a fan of the Wonder Woman comic book, but I’m a big fan of Daniel Warren Johnson. His two series Extremity and Murder Falcon really stood out for me. I think his artwork is a kind of hybrid of American comics and Japanese manga styles. There are some great vids on YouTube showing his drawing process. Also, ComicPOP did a good interview with him, which I recommend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I saw that you were reading it on Goodreads and I’m glad to hear such a super positive reception from you for it already! I added both Extremity and Murder Falcon on my TBR when I finished this one up and I’m really happy to hear that you’d recommend them too! I agree about the style being a blend of manga and comics. Thanks for vouching for his work! Many seem pretty quick to conclude that this one doesn’t look appealing solely based on art! 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the art is very divisive on this book. But as you have said, I think it compliments the tone of the story. As you will see in Extremity and Murder Falcon, Johnson seems to have a love for depicting weird and wonderful creaures and monsters. I also like the kinetic feel to some of his panels, that sense of movement that is common in a lot of manga. Especially in the fight scenes.

        Liked by 1 person

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