Friday, June 2, 2017

Top 5 Fridays: Top 5 Wonder Woman Stories


Welcome to another wonderful installment of Top 5 Fridays! Today is a big day for fans of comics, movies, and superheroes. Today is the release of Wonder Woman's solo movie. For 75 years, the Princess of Themyscira has fought the enemies that threaten truth and justice. She has become one of the most iconic superheroes of all time and to see her lead her own movie is something that fans of the character have been dying to see since her original conception. To honor the release, today's Top 5 will be of my Top 5 Wonder Woman stories. Keep in mind that while I have grown to love the character, I have not read every single story of her's. I haven't read the John Byrne run or the original Rucka, so if you know of any, I would love to hear some of them in the comments. This means that if you don't see a story you like, I apologize. With the formalities out of the way, hop into your invisible jets and let's fly into this list!

5: Wonder Woman: Earth One

While it might not be the strongest volumes in the DC Earth One line-up of books, in this story does something that I was in expecting one first picking it up. It revolves around Diana first meeting Steve Trevor and her first interaction with the outside world… Which is seen through flashbacks during a trial, as consorting with man's world is forbidden. Along with this interesting storytelling device(as this is Wonder Woman, The personification of truth), Grant Morrison is able to take a little bit of every origin created for the Amazonian princess to amalgamate into a definitive origin. Diana's birth, the invisible jet, the reason why The Amazons left Man's World, all of it is covered in this book. One could argue that with all of these small details, Grant Morrison made a love letter to the wonder woman mythos, and I can clearly see why. My only major complaint with the book is the overuse of bondage themes, which considering is a weakness to the golden age Wonder Woman, fits the amalgamation that Morrison was going for... Still creeps me out a bit.


4: The Lies and The Truth
One of the opening story arcs of Rebirth decided to take everything I knew about Wonder Woman and flip it on its head. When Rucka returned to Wonder Woman, he gave us one of the biggest mysteries to ever be associated with the character: her REAL origin. Now, on the one hand, this recreation would completely overwrite the amazing story that I'm used to(which may or may not be on this list), but this story does accomplish something that I feel the other lacked: a sense of humanity. With every major twist and turn, you could feel the more human side of Diana seep out. Whether it be pleading for her old friend, Cheetah, to assist her as they find a cure for her ailment or the heart-breaking realization of the fact that Diana has never once returned to the place of her birth. The art also helps with this, as it's dark colors and drawing style fit the darker side of this story. If I have any real problem with the story(other than it completely erasing the other story), it would be the ending. Wonder Woman gets an answer, but it's not one I'm a fan of. Despite that flaw, this journey was one that helped define Rebirth.


3:  A League of One
In this story, Wonder Woman learns from an oracle that an ancient dragon will arrive on Earth and the League is destined to fight and fall to it. Since they are her family, Diana tries to save her friends from their fate by removing them from the picture. She systematically defeats each of the members of the League and sends them off world so she can take on the dragon herself. This story shows off one of the more iconic traits that make up Wonder Woman: Her love and compassion. I know it is a very weird thing to consider, as she does wipe the floor with them, but the reason is there. She loves her friends, sees them as a family, and would give her life to protect them. She challenges the dragon on her own, believing that the League in the prophecy doesn't need to be a group of people, but an ideal. An ideal built on truth and justice. An ideal that, in a way, personifies Wonder Woman. She fights injustice in the form of inequality and her most iconic piece of weaponry forces the truth out. To see her put her life on the line for her family and the planet is an inspiration. A true warrior for justice.


2: Azzarello's Wonder Woman
This saga might not only be one of the best Wonder Woman stories, but also one of the few successes that the New 52 can hold up proudly. THIS is the story I mentioned was erased in the number four spot. With Rucka basically retconning ALL OF THIS, it removed one of the greatest odysseys in comic book history. When I mean Odyssey, I do mean it. Diana travels from the depths of Hades' underworld to the peak of Mount Olympus and everywhere in between, as she combats the twisted game that the gods play. She makes allies, both in the form of new gods and her demigod siblings, as well as enemies such as Apollo and the Firstborn. The way this story is set up and told feels like an ancient legend passed down through generations, not unlike the tale of Odysseus. Each arc had it's own obstacle for the heroes to overcome and was full of callbacks to previous story arcs and the very myths that the characters were based on. In my honest opinion, I prefer this legendary approach over a humanity based one. While it is good to see Wonder Woman deal with her internal issues, to see her juggling them while fighting the gods of Olympus will always be better.


1: The Legend of Wonder Woman
Like the other four stories above it, this story contains the nostalgia, the humanity, the epic heroism, and the legend that makes up Diana of Themyscira. It follows the young Amazon princess as she interacts with the horrors of World War II while trying to find a way home to save her people. In the story, we watched her go from A princess who wants to save her home island, to one of the ladies guardians of birth. We see her make friends, actual fleshed out characters that help her on her journey to stop the hidden evils that lay behind enemy lines. So if the story is as good as I'm making it out to be, does the art hold up? Extremely so! The art is beautiful with every page being a burst of color and spectacle to behold. Every week, I bought the next installment to this legend, never getting disappointed once. If I had to think of one disappointment, it would be that DC decided to can this series when they should have promoted the crap out of it. It's clear that Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon had passion while crafting this legend and I want to personally thank them for creating, in my opinion, one of the greatest Wonder Woman tales of all time.

That's it for this week's Top 5 Friday! What are your favorite tales of the Princess of Themyscira? Leave a comment and I'll see you next time!
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5 comments:

  1. This is a great list of Wonder Woman stories. Personally, I don't really care for Earth One but the art was pretty good. If I may add on, I would suggest George Perez's run in the 80's and Jill Thompson's True Amazon. Perez's run basically defines the character in the modern era and is an epic read. True Amazon is a book with beautiful artwork and has Wonder Woman develop from being a spoiled, if capable, brat to a more heroic figure.

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    1. I actually picked up True Amazon yesterday. I really liked it!

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    2. I'm happy you enjoyed it! It didn't get that much attention when it was released. Which was sad because it was pretty good

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  2. Rucka retconned ALL OF THIS Odyssey crap because it was garbage.. Honestly, it was badly written from the get go with no real focus on the main character. Azzarello changes EVERY aspect of her character then never once tries to explain how any of it works.
    If Azzarello's Wonder Woman is so great then.. what does his Wonder Woman stand for? Why does she exist? It's not to spread peace and better understanding because.. the Amazons rape, murder, and enslave men. It's not even clear how she was able to leave the island with Steve Trevor without him getting raped and murdered.
    Also, how does Wonder Woman know next to NOTHING about the Amazons or Greek mythology?
    And why does she allow herself to constantly be duped, undermined, and sexually harassed?
    And how does it make ANY sense that Diana has to murder her own brother to keep someone else from murdering him?
    Also.. why are the Greek gods just shallow rip-offs of the Egyptian gods i.e. half animals/objects instead of humans?

    Too much wrong with Azzarello's run.. there was literally no way to save any of that and it was just bad and not very Wonder Woman.. it may have been a great trip.. but it was a great trip about some half-baked attempt at Greek mythology, not a great Wonder Woman trip..

    And Earth One has a bunch of issues too.. it's all Morrison's fantasies thrown on the page with no filter.. it's gross.

    Perez's run should be mentioned and while Legend of Wonder Woman is the greatest modern interpretation of Wonder Woman by far.. I really think the original Marston/Peters run should be first as holds up beautifully over time and has a nice rich complexity while also being pretty simple.. It's truly fantastic what Marston did and there would be no Wonder Woman for anyone without his work.

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    1. Not gonna lie, you are THE first person I've seen to have a problem with the Azzarello Wonder Woman. But if it's not you're cup of tea, that's cool. I've heard Perez's run was great, I just haven't gotten around to reading it yet.

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