I’m still a relatively new reader in the world of DC Comics, so I’m always looking for opportunities that allow me to jump right into the stories of legendary DC heroes with very little effort and proceeding education. I got the chance to put that into practice last month when I reviewed the high-fantasy reimagining Dark Knights of Steel, and I’m back at it again with Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons. I’m always thrilled when a lore-heavy origin story is slated for release. Wonder Woman is a character I’m familiar with in theory, but I’ve got to be honest, I know very little about who she is, why she does what she does, or the people that inhabit her world. This newest Prestige mini-series from DC is comprised of three issues that comprehensively outline how The Amazons came to be, giving readers convenient access to build context on an established character’s universe without the stress of “where do I start?!”
I’ll let you in on a secret: I’m a bit of a Greek Mythology freak. One of my favorite books growing up was D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. Regardless of the more serious works I’ve enjoyed over the years, my original copy of this children’s classic still has a special place on my bookshelf because it was the seed from which my interest in these stories grew. You’re probably thinking, “Nice tangent Ash, but what does this all have to do with Wonder Woman?” Well, surprise! Wonder Woman’s origin story with the Amazons sits squarely in Greek Myth territory. Imagine my utter astonishment when I opened the pages of Wonder Woman Historia and saw the familiar names of Hera, Zeus, Artemis, and Demeter. Turning away from the gorgeous pages I thought incredulously to myself, I get to read these stories in comic form with a femme-power spin? Insert shocked face.
A band of Olympus’s Goddesses have had enough. For too long men have ravaged the world, taking and wrecking everything in their path just because they can. These powerful women have watched their sisters be mistreated and abused in all manner of ways by the men who run the world, and these Goddesses have had enough. After their pleas fall on the deaf ears of the Gods, they take matters into their own hands to create and give life to a race of warrior women who will protect those who cannot protect themselves. Within these pages will unfold the birth of the Amazons, a story I didn’t realize I was missing in my life, but one I’m suddenly glad has found its way into my hands.
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons takes us all the way to the beginning, giving an overview of the goddesses who inhabit this arc and the history that set them on a path toward the creation of a warrior race. DeConnick’s story is a treasure trove of nods to Greek history, established myth, and lyrical prose. She deftly shifts from historical exposition to smoldering altercations between the Gods of Olympus with ease. This sounds like a lot to take in, but the information is laid out so well, that even someone with little to no mythology knowledge will be able to fall headfirst into this world.
One of the main reasons DeConnick’s script succeeds and flows so well is because of artist Phil Jimenez and colorists Hi-Fi, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Arif Prianto. Jimenez expertly captures the rage and terrible beauty of Olympus’s Goddesses. Each woman is designed with great care; their outward appearances clearly given much thought and purpose. I was especially pleased to see all manner of women represented on the pages and not just the standard archetypal Caucasian waif history has attributed to illustrated goddesses. Every panel is filled to bursting with detailed imagery, saturated with rich color, and layered to produce a frenzied chaos invoking the mindset the Goddesses find themselves in. Jimenez employs every small corner and bordering frame to further the kinetic energy of DeConnick’s story. Readers will be enraptured by the well-crafted prose, but they are spoiled for choice, as they could spend twice as much time studying the detailed designs and stories hidden within the armor and architecture in the panels of Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons.
I emphatically urge you to give this one a read if mythology, magic, or mad women ready to shake the foundations of the world rank high on your list of interests. Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons Issue 1 is available from DC Comics today.