Wonder Woman Earth One – Review

I’ve been waiting for Wonder Woman Earth One since I saw the first black and white preview pages many months ago. Grant Morrison has had some great takes on DC’s pantheon of iconic characters lately, namely with All-Star Superman and Batman, Inc. In interviews, Grant Morrison has promised that it would honor the original spirit of the character as created by William Molulton Marsten. After the details Marston’s personal life were made completely public in last year’s Secret History of Wonder Woman, this promise became more and more intriguing.

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Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist/Cover: Yanick Paquette

Release Date: 4/6/2016
Cover Price: $22.99

In this new installment of the New York Times best-selling Earth One original graphic novel line, Grant Morrison (THE MULTIVERSITY) joins with Yanick Paquette (SWAMP THING, BATMAN, INC.) to re-imagine Wonder Woman for a new era. Encompassing the vision of her original creator, William Moulton Marston, Morrison presents a Diana who yearns to break free from her mother and the Utopian society on Paradise Island to learn about the forbidden outside world. Her dreams may come true when Air Force pilot Steve Trevor crashes on their shores, and she must defy the laws of the Amazons to return him to Man’s World.
Is she ready for the culture shock that awaits her in America? And is the world ready for this Wonder Woman?

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Review:

The story is exquisite, and does remain truthful to the original vision of Wonder Woman’s creator, although unhindered by the moral dogma of the 1940s and unfettered by Grant Morrison’s passion for the project. It retains all of the classics of the Wonder Woman mythos and creates a Paradise Island that feels real, much more so than most versions have in the past. Emphasis is taken away from the Amazons as a society of warriors and more as an isolated society where women do not need men at all. This world view is not that women are equal to men, but that women are superior to men. Their technology is more advanced and they are essentially immortal. However, with the introduction of Etta Candy, Morrison shows that more advanced is not the equivalent of more enlightened. The Amazons come across as incredibly smug. There are small surprises in the story, including Diana’s first private moment with a healthy Steve Trevor, whose shift in race adds a special element to the story that could not have been explored seventy-five years ago.

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Yanick Paquette’s art is astounding and just might rank up there as some of the best in his career. His pages are designed and the shape of panels are used to help tell the story as much as the renditions within those panels. The environments are thought out, planned, and detailed. As much as Grant Morrison’s story makes Paradise Island feel like a real place, Paquette’s art makes it look like a real place. This same care is given to every other location, making the pages feel as detailed as possible. The characters are all unique, and each character has their own feeling. The only problem I have with the art is the way colorist Nathan Fairbairn occasionally colors over the inked artwork to try to add tone. Unfortunately, it’s a personal opinion that it seldom works. Fairbairn makes it work in the background almost every time he uses it, but when used in the foreground, it doesn’t work as successfully. That being said, it doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of this book.

Should you buy this book? Oh, definitely, and it’s by far my favorite of the Earth One books so far. I’m also really enjoying the way that DC is publishing these stories, as longer graphic novels rather than individual issues. It makes Earth One something special, and in the case of Wonder Woman, it almost certainly is something special.