Well that was not a long wait at all. Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman ended its digital run just a couple of weeks ago, and already the new Wonder Woman digital-first series has begun! The Legend of Wonder Woman #1 went up on Comixology today, a couple of months before it’s due to appear in print form. Written by Renae De Liz, with art by De Liz and Ray Dillon, the series explores the early days of Diana’s life on Themyscira. Also, it looks like it’s going to be really, really good.
One of my favourite things is to see how someone reinterprets the legend of the Amazons and how they came to be. William Moulton Marston created something weird and involved yet fun and powerful nearly 75 years ago, and attempts to retell this story in new ways have been interesting. George Perez did a nice job, going bigger and more dramatic with it with reincarnated souls and whatnot. More recently, Brian Azzarello turned the Amazons into horrible people, murdering rapists seemingly without any redeeming qualities. That one I did not care for so much.
De Liz has gone a more upbeat route. Her Amazons were such great rulers that Zeus granted Hippolyta and her sisters immortality so that they could rule forever, but Hippolyta inadvertently led the Amazons to war when she fell for Theseus. Nonetheless, her sisters welcomed her back and when the gods left the world to live in peace elsewhere, they brought along the Amazons to remember their ways and worship them on Themyscira. Immortal beings can’t have children, but something “ancient and forgotten” granted Hippolyta a baby made from clay, Diana.
I love the mix of the old and the new here. De Liz sticks to the classic Amazon/Diana origin but adds new wrinkles and details that make it unique. I also enjoy the deep mythological cuts; it’s fun to have Hippolyta’s sisters in the mix, and Theseus’ part in Hercules’ attack on the Amazons is something that I’ve always thought would be an interesting avenue to explore. It’s a bummer that Penthesilea got killed in the war again Hercules, because she’s one of my favourite mythological Amazons, but having her other sisters still in play is very cool.
The main story gets going with a turn to the present day, where young Diana seems to be somewhat of an outsider among the other Amazon children. In this world, the gods grant children to the mortal Amazons, so that their society can continue on. But Diana seems different, more grim and serious than her peers. She’s adorable, though. De Liz does a great job with all the kids, but her big eyed young Diana is particularly cute:
Diana thinks something ominous is on the way, so I’m guessing that will begin to play out next week as we dive more into her world now that all of the backstory is established.
I really enjoyed this issue, and I’m excited to explore more of this world. De Liz does a fine job with the writing, going with a degree of archaic formality in her writing style to capture a mythological vibe without going too far with it. It’s a tough line to walk, and she does it well. I like that the gods and the Amazons have a good, almost symbiotic relationship. The current DC universe has the gods and the Amazons perpetually at odds, which is tiresome. I also enjoyed what little we’ve seen on Amazon society, with each Amazon specializing in service to a specific deity. That’s a smart way to organize such a world.
If I had any complaints, it would be that Hippolyta’s desire for a baby was a touch over the top. I know that having kids is cool and all, but a woman desperately wanting a baby is a bit of a cliché, and calling her thousands of years of ruling a bad ass Amazon society a “hollow existence” because she was childless is kind of harsh. That all could have been played down a little bit. But that’s just me being nitpicky; the book is great.
And the art is fantastic. I love De Liz’s choice of style here. It’s a little bit cartoony in a Disney sort of way, with everything slightly exaggerated, and it works really well. The kids are cute, the adults are clearly different characters with different features instead of just cardboard cutouts, and the armor and clothing fits the setting without being too much. I think younger readers will be all over this book, which is not something that can be said of pretty much every other Wonder Woman comic book that’s come out over the past several years.
So yeah, go check this out! You can get the book digitally now, or wait for the first three digital issues to be collected in print form this January. If you’re a Wonder Woman fan at all, I highly recommend picking it up. It’s a new take on the character that’s simultaneously fresh and classic, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where De Liz takes the book.