Review: WONDER WOMAN HISTORIA: THE AMAZONS # 1

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Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick (Captain Marvel, Bitch Planet) and artist Phil Jimenez (Wonder Woman, The Invisibles) came together to weave and discover a new mythology in Wonder woman historia # 1. With colors of Hi-Fi, Arif Prianto and Romula Fajardo Jr. and letters from Clayton Cowles, this first chapter eschews the known history of the famous Amazon and delves deep into the malleable nature of Greek mythology itself. As such, DeConnick and Jimenez have created something that transcends the world of superhero storytelling and lands squarely in the realm of legend. With sharp, timeless writing and groundbreaking artistry, this comic could be the start of an absolute essential new reading for the DC stable.

“The wait is over, and the whole story of the Amazons can finally be told!” Millennia ago, Queen Hera and the goddesses of the Olympian pantheon became very dissatisfied with their male counterparts… and out of sight they put a plan into action. A new society was born, never seen before on Earth, capable of wonderful and terrible things… but their existence could not be kept secret for long. When a desperate woman named Hippolyta crossed paths with the Amazons, a series of events were unleashed that would lead to outright war in the skies and the creation of Earth’s greatest Guardian! “

Writing and plot

Kelly Sue DeConnick is probably creating the most effective screenplay of her career in Wonder woman historia # 1. Disconnected from the expectations of modern superheroes or current speculative fiction, the planet female dog the writer settles on a brutal yet inspiring mythological tale set in the DC universe. Make no mistake, this comic can be both physically and emotionally shocking. Exploring the construction of the Amazons in reaction to the treatment of women by a male-ruled society is nothing new in itself. Doing it with almost complete creative control, out of continuity, in a book for mature readers, is. DeConnick does not hide the reasons for the fury of Hera and the other goddess – nor the indifference of men. This topical treatment of mythological beings blends beautifully with elements of Wonder Woman’s known history, while leaving the mystery for chapters to come.

Style

DeConnick adopts a narrative style that reads like a perfect blend of modern and timeless poetic writing. Its syntax and diction are reminiscent of Gaiman’s Sand seller, but with his distinct voice making him distinctly unique. DeConnick’s voices for each goddess perfectly reflect each being. Hera is measured but stern, and speaks with the weight of knowing more than she suggests. Athena is factual, with words of logic rather than wisdom. Artemis is full of youthful anger and mostly talks about jokes and threats. Each of these characters is written so distinctly that we could determine who was speaking by simply reading a sentence out of context.

Maybe I should warn that this is not a light comic. DeConnick’s portrayal of the pain women feel in the patriarchal world is steadfast and never strays from its truth. However, in this fountain of emotional and poetic writing, it will be easy for most readers to see the new / old mythology that DeConnick weaves for this series.

Artistic direction

Holy shit, Phil Jimenez. When the first art shots of Wonder woman historia No.1 on the internet, it quickly became one of the most anticipated comics of the past two years. While DeConnick’s script is amazing, it’s Jimenez’s work that really makes this book a must read. The modern icon breaks out of the style that we have widely seen its use and becomes something almost monolithic. Much of the work here is more like gallery work than something found in a comic book. Jimenez’s designs for Greek gods and goddesses are both familiar and unique. The grace and power that Hera, Hestia and Aphrodite are presented with are beautifully singular. The one that comes to mind the most is Jimenez’s design for Hecate. The dark goddess is presented as multiple bodies all wrapped in barbed wire, and with different heads that speak in turn.

Design

What’s so different about Jimenez’s interpretations from other artists for these goddesses is how ethereal they are. These beings to feel like gods. The classic fallible nature in classical Greek mythology led many artists to make them almost entirely human. Jimenez offers designs that, for some of them like Hera and Demeter, are obviously human but still ethereal. However, with Athena’s bodyless form and Aphrodite’s starry shimmering skin, the feeling that these are cosmically powerful entities really sticks out. It doesn’t hurt that the backdrops of Olympus and the Underworld also appear as nebulous voids of beauty and despair. Jimenez’s design language for the gods gives JH Williams III the best bang for the buck.

Another clever feat from Jimenez here is the way he transforms styles for scenes that take place on Earth. Here, he takes an approach that’s more like what we’ve seen of him in his other mainstream comic book works. It adopts a more conventional panel style to tell a story from the point of view of the mortals who would later become very important to that story. I’m not going to spoil anything, but Jimenez’s art here is as stellar as ever.

Color

Much of what makes the visuals so successful here is the coloring by Hi-Fi, Arif Prianto, and Romula Fajardo Jr. The barrage of tonal blends in the palette of the goddesses and their heavenly abode are “handy” quality. The accented details of the characters themselves add elements to their personality that are only emphasized by Jimenez’s pencils. I feel like they have indeed been allowed to go wild with their work here, and it pays a lot. Clayton Cowles’ letters are varied and cleverly tonal, with just enough variance to convey scenes in a spectacular way. Every visual aspect of this comic is absolutely stunning.

Verdict

Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons # 1 is a poignant and gorgeous triumph of a comic book. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Jimenez craft what could be the best work of their careers in this iconic piece of storytelling. DeConnick’s current and powerful storyline reads like a piece of timeless mythology that sets up later chapters while still feeling like a story in itself. Jimenez and the Colorists create a comic that transcends the rules of comic book direction to create something incredibly fascinating. This is an absolute comic book triumph, so be sure to grab it when it hits shelves on 11/30!


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