Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Legend of Wonder Woman #1 Review - Print Edition




Written by: Renae De Liz
Art by: Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 13, 2016

No matter how hard DC Comics tries to stop me, I love their Digital First line of books.  That's why I usually review the digital chapters as they come out rather than the print editions.  That ends now!  Believe me, though, this is in no way me deciding the collected print version is superior than the three individual chapters that make it up...that would be plain silly, right DC?  No, the reason I am putting this together is that this book, The Legend of Wonder Woman, deserves all the exposure it can get.  It really is that good.  So, I'm doing a little collecting myself and giving you the three reviews I've done that cover what you get in issue #1.  If you've already read them, then hopefully you went out and bought the book and if you are checking them out for the first time...just run out and get the book right now.  I will be showing the original scores with each chapter and then a new blurb and aggregate score at the bottom.  And away we go...




Chapter One:

What better place to start an origin story then the beginning, right?  Well, that's what Renae De Liz gives us...the beginning of the Universe.  It is an epic start and really gives the reader the sense that, indeed, this is an all-new and important origin.  However, those jumping into this book expecting to see nothing but Wonder Woman may be disappointed because to have Wonder Woman, you first need her mother, Hippolyta.  This first chapter is mainly her story and it's pretty awesome.

Before I go on with the what's what of the story, I have to pause to tell you that this is one of the best looking books I've read in a long time.  Maybe it's because De Liz and Ray Dillon's style is right in my wheelhouse...cartoony and colorful, but I can't see how anyone could not feel the same way.  It makes the book look like a fairytale which it kind of is.  Seriously, it looks so good.  Enough of my gushing, how was the story?  It's almost as impressive as the art. 



Like I said, this is mainly the story of Hippolyta and her quest to be something more than an immortal Queen.  She wanted to become a mother.  Poor Hippolyta had been granted immortality by Zeus and while that sounds great to me, immortals cannot bear children.  While she desperately sought a way to get back her mortality, everything has consequences and Amazons and Gods all were effected.  Because of all this, Zeus created Themyscira for them all and thousands of years past in peace.  Unfortunately, these years were lonely ones for the Amazonian Queen.



That's when the moment everyone was waiting for happened.  Diana was born out of the clay of Themyscira and the hope of Hippolyta...the second part being so good.  The book then shifts to the young girls of Themyscira being taught that every Amazon has a calling and then we see Diana and no matter what else is said, this first glimpse of the future Wonder Woman was great.  De Liz's character work here is just incredible.  Little Diana is not a happy camper, though, and senses something is wrong with the island.  We'll have to wait for that little seed to grow, however, because the issue ends with Diana heading into the palace to visit her mother.



I loved this first issue.  I can't say that this is my idea of the "definitive" origin of Wonder Woman yet, but if the next eight issues are as good, I'll be all in.  If you are any kind of Wonder Woman fan, then I think you will love this book.  I can't say much more about the art than I already have...it is incredible and I loved every bit of it.

Bits and Pieces:

This is a great first chapter of what is promised to be the definitive origin of Wonder Woman.  While that's a big statement, if the full series is as good, I'll have to agree with it.  Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon give the reader a great combination of story and art and I've already fallen in love with this book.  If you are a Wonder Woman fan, or a comic fan in general, give this first chapter a look see and I think you'll be hooked. 9.5/10



Chapter Two:

This issue starts out with Diana and her mother, Hippolyta, talking about Diana's lessons.  It certainly shows that little Diana is as smart as a whip, but does so much more.  De Liz uses this nice mother/daughter scene to show Diana's curiosity for the outside world and also the little girl's defiance when it comes to submitting to what's expected of her.  Two things pop out during this scene...Diana's insistance that something bad is coming to Themyscira and her questioning if she wants to ever become immortal.



The coming darkness is interesting enough and is sure to help Diana get her wish to become a warrior princess, but the question of immortality really hit home to those who read the first chapter of this book.  It's something that Hippolyta fought her entire life and even gave up for a time, trying to have a daughter.  Now that daughter is questioning it and Hippolyta can only dismiss her.  The scene is only helped by the great art that really stressed the emotions of the scene.

Diana leaves her Mother and immediately goes to watch the training of the young Amazon warriors. She hides in the shadows as Alcippe yells and screams at the young girls that they can't get anything right before leaving in disgust...right after seeing Diana hiding.  I hope that is foreshadowing for some secret training very soon.



De Liz has naturally given us a Diana full of life, rebellion and curiosity and that continues as she goes against every rule and leaves the city to explore the island.  She eventually is approached by a golden stag who leads her to the shoreline.  It's an awesome scene that is all the better if you are a fan of mythology.

Sometimes it's hard to review these Digital First chapters as they aren't a whole until they are collected for the print version, but that's not the case here.  I am smitten with this book and really have fallen for the characters and world within it's pages.  It's a combination of the great art, simple yet universal story and the mythology of it all.  If anyone claims that DC Comics isn't getting things right nowadays, I'm going to point them towards this book.  The best part is, this is an all-ages book and while I'm sure little girls will love it instantly, I had my nine year old son read it and like his father, he is  hooked.



The art is such a big reason why I'm so gung ho about this book and I said it last week and I'll say it again...this is the cutest I've ever seen little Diana portrayed.  You can't help but fall in love with her the minute you see her.  De Liz and Dillon don't stop with her, either, as everything has a cartoony yet classical look that fits the source material so well.

Bits and Pieces:

Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon continue giving readers a great book that Wonder Woman fans of all ages can enjoy.  While this middle chapter of the first arc is heavy in the setup department, the story is still top notch and the art is superb.  I have fallen head over heels in love with this title and expect everyone who gives it a try to do the same. 9.6/10


Chapter Three:

To say that I am enjoying The Legend of Wonder Woman is a gross understatement.  You may already know that I am a huge sucker for the Digital First line and this book is a great example why. Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon are allowed to tell the Wonder Woman story they want to without the constraints of current and past continuity and so far, the results have been great.  Unfortunately, they also seem to be going forward with little to no support from DC themselves and it upsets me to no end when I talk to someone about this book and get a confused look and a "I didn't know that was out" kind of comment.  Of course, this might all change when the chapters are collected for the print edition, but why does DC even have a Digital First line if they are going to act like they are embarrassed by it?  I guess I'm going to have to climb up on my old soapbox each week until things change, but since that's probably never happening, I can at least tell you about this week's chapter of The Legend of Wonder Woman.  We are just getting to the point where Diana goes from being the cute, little princess of Themyscira to the cute, little warrior princess of Themyscira.  Last issue, Hippolyta told Diana to know her role, but when our little heroine slipped out of the city gates, it was obvious that it fell on deaf ears.  While the island is home to many wonders, there is still the growing darkness eating at it...a darkness that Diana can feel in her soul.  It has read like a fairy tale, but fairy tales can get pretty dark before the happy ending.  Is that the case here?  And does it continue being great despite DC's cold shoulder (sorry, I still very upset)?  Let's find out...




Last issue ended with Diana discovering the beauty and awesomeness of sharing an island with the Olympian gods.  We pick up right there this issue and I'll tell you, I wish I was there with her.  As a young boy, Greek Mythology fired my imagination and I dreamt of finding a place with Hyperborean Giants, Hippogriffs and a Charybdis, but it gets even better.  Diana actually gets to look upon Olympus itself and then has a one-on-one with Pegasus.  Talk about a greatest hits! 



Renae De Liz shows just how good a person Diana is when instead of being overwhelmed by it all, she asks Pegasus what is wrong with the island.  I don't know if the winged horse could or would have told her because out of nowhere a dark mist rolls in and scares him off.  I knew it was going to get scary eventually!

The next part shows just how great an art team De Liz and Ray Dillon are, but it also showed me how much I've grown attached to Diana.  I was on the edge of my seat as she came face-to-face with the gruesome Manticore and sighed a large breath of relief when she was saved by Alcippe.  Luckily, she was outside the city gates and heard Diana's screams. 



De Liz continues making me love Diana when she tries over and over to force Alcippe to train her. Alcippe just tells her to go home until Diana mentions the suffering of the island and it stops her in her tracks.  Alcippe has felt it as well and the issue ends with her agreeing to train her.  I can't wait.

If it isn't obvious from what I've written, I love this issue.  It's all about the character of Diana and the awesome art.  They go hand in hand (of course), because I fell in love with her the minute I saw De Liz's version of her.  The story and her feisty attitude has just increased it and I genuinely was afraid she would get hurt in this issue.  Just thinking of how hard headed she will be when Alcippe trains her is already making me laugh.  I can't wait.

Bits and Pieces:

The Legends of Wonder Woman continues being a treat for Wonder Woman and comic fans in general.  This issue continues showing how a feisty little girl continues her journey towards being a hero.  The art and story combine to form a fairy tale like experience that looks and reads like a classic Disney film and I love it.  Please, don't read into DC Comics lack of support as anything but a huge faux pas on their part...this book is great!  9.8/10


Final Thoughts and Score:

What more can I say, this is a great book that is a must read for Wonder Woman and comic book fans of all ages.  This is by far the best Wonder Woman book on the shelves today and I can't recommend it any more without sounding like a crazed fanboy.  I loved the individual chapters (obviously) and it collects just as well, if not better.  Which way should you buy it then?  Just do what I do...buy the chapters digitally and then get the print edition as well.  Then you can have as good a time as I did going back a rereading the chapters once again.

          
9.7/10 


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3 comments:

  1. I feel like this should a print first comic. The cloudy sequence in first pages was awesome when you saw it as whole in those spreads.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. true, but I love the way the art looks on the hi res screen of my tablet!

      Delete
  2. Maybe now DC can start spreading that trailer around

    ReplyDelete

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