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Wonder Woman By George Perez Vol. 1 Paperback – August 23, 2016
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About the Author
George Pérez started drawing at the age of five and hasn't stopped since. Born on June 9, 1954, Pérez began his professional comics career as an assistant to Rich Buckler in 1973. After establishing himself as a penciller at Marvel Comics, Pérez came to DC in 1980, bringing his highly detailed art style to such titles as JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA and FIRESTORM. After co-creating THE NEW TEEN TITANS in 1980, Pérez and writer Marv Wolfman reunited for the landmark miniseries CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS in 1985. In the aftermath of that universe-smashing event, Pérez revitalized WONDER WOMAN as the series' writer and artist, reestablishing her as one of DC's preeminent characters and bringing in some of the best sales the title has ever experienced. He has since gone on to illustrate celebrated runs on Marvel's The Avengers, CrossGen's Solus and DC's THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD.
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In these tales, which comprise the first 14 issues of the Amazon Princess' Modern Age ongoing series from 1987-2011, co-writer Perez discards the notion of Wonder Woman as a female Superman and builds upon her classic origin of being birthed out of clay by Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons through incorporating deities and concepts from Greek mythology. He also redefines her as not just another costumed crimefighter, but as an emissary and ambassador from Themyscira charged with bringing peace to man's world-or, as Perez renames it, Patriarch's World-and who believes in the fundamental goodness of both women and men.
His stories feature Olympian gods meddling in mortals' affairs, ornate speeches about virtue and fate-and thoughts on domestic violence, discrimination and ageism. It's by design that Perez begins his story with a cavewoman being murdered by her mate because he was humiliated by losing a fight with a sabertooth tiger. The caveman then sees energy shoot out of his mate's corpse and into the heavens. Female Superman, this ain't.
That energy was the woman's soul, which was held in storage in the underworld, along with the souls of other women who met similar horrible fates, until female Greek deities restore them to life as the Amazons, who are to inspire humanity to be better. Of course, Ares, the god of war, doesn't like this plan much, and believes he can improve humanity through terror and battle.
Also of course, we see Steve Trevor-now middle-aged, in order to prevent a cheap love story with its attendant romance-novel swooning-crash on Themyscira, giving the Amazons a look at their first man since the misogynistic Heracles. The god Hermes guides Diana and Trevor to Massachusetts in order to fulfill Diana's destiny as an ambassador to man's world. There, she meets Julia Kapatelis, a middle-aged academic and single mother, which allows Perez to consider the challenges older women face. Etta Candy, formerly a comic relief character, now struggles realistically with body-image issues. And when Diana debuts on the world stage, she's openly religious, which earns her scorn from both atheists and fundamentalist Christians.
And it all looks great. Artist Perez gives his stories, through both page layouts and the attention to detail in both the foreground and the background of his panels, the same epic qualities that characterize his prior work in "New Teen Titans," "Justice League of America" and "Crisis on Infinite Earths." Olympus, in particular, comes across as a gravity-defying, perspective-skewing wonderland that M.C. Escher would envy.
By the end of this collection, Diana of Themyscira is someone entirely different than either the brooding Batman or the grinning Superman, but still compatible with both of them. To her, their brand of crimefighting implies socially-accepted violence for the sake of maintaining order. She believes her mission is not to jail evildoers, but to teach the Amazon way of mutual respect and love.
The only flaw in the volume, and it's a minor one, is that Perez's layouts become less audacious and his artwork less detailed over its course. After only 10 more issues, he would stop drawing interiors entirely, providing only covers, and focus entirely on his writing because he felt he wasn't fast enough to maintain a monthly illustrating schedule.
If you want to get into Wonder Woman's adventures either before or after seeing her standalone film, this is the volume to begin with.
Issue 1 Origin of the Amazons and Wonder Woman
2-6 First story arc - WW has to deal with Ares and his sons
7 Diana recovers. Cheetah introduced
8 Hoo, this one has a lot of text! Julia Kapatelis types out WW's role in the "Legends" event. WW meets the Justice League and decides not to join. Etta Candy types out how WW let the US military test her powers. Vanessa writes out in painful-to-read handwriting about WW and her crush on a classmate. Myndi Mayer describes (in more handwriting) WW's publicity tour. And there's more set-up for the Cheetah.
9 Cheetah's powers are derived from a god; thus, she's strong enough to take on WW. She wants Diana's lasso and fights her for it.
10, 11 The Beginning of the "Challenge of the Gods" story line...
12, 13 Which unfortunately gets roped into the "Millennium" crossover event. Dammit! Okay, this doesn't hurt the story too much; it just adds one unbelievable plot element into the story. Diana has to go past Doom's Doorway and fight various monsters within. She also has a chat with the ghost of Diana Trevor, Steve's mother.
14 The Amazons reconcile with Heracles. Wonder Woman returns to Man's World.
DC's first major crossover event was Crisis on Infinite Earths, published in 1985-6. After this event, DC rebooted Wonder Woman from scratch. None of her previous adventures "really" happened and she was given a new origin. With the issues collected here, writers George Perez, Len Wein, and Greg Potter and artists George Perez and Bruce Patterson set the gold standard for Wonder Woman comics that all subsequent authors and writers would be measured up to.
Note: I don't own the book, but I do have the original issues it's made of. If you've never read Wonder Woman before, this is a great place to start!
Issues 1-7 are available here: Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Gods and Mortals
Issues 7-14 are available here (there's an overlap?); Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Challenge of the Gods
Issues 1-24 are available here:Wonder Woman by George Perez Omnibus Vol. 1
Most recent customer reviews
The first six issues serve as a new origin story for Wonder Woman.Read more
A PERFECT starting point for any new WW fans, and a must have for the hardcores.