The Legend of Wonder Woman #1
Published on: 1/20/2016
Written by: Renae De Liz
Art by: Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon
Holy Shit Bricks! Let me go ahead and spoil the through line and tell you to buy “The Legend of Wonder Woman” #1. Yeah it’s better for internet articles to tease the reader until the end but it’s gonna be fairly obvious what I think of the book when I have no complaints. Each page is lovingly crafted, hewn from the detritus of other lesser Wonder Woman books until this beautiful specimen emerged. No I’m not exaggerating! This book leaves the discarded carcasses of other Wonder Woman books at its feet as it continues on for glory!
Let’s start with the best part of “The Legend of Wonder Woman”, the art. Dear mother of Jesus this is some beautiful work. All the colors are so vivid and work to compliment the line work. Plus it’s versatile, not only do the characters and the scenery look gorgeous but the action and the movement practically jumps off the page. There’s a lot of artists out there that struggle with making art that conveys movement and I can confidently say Renae De Liz isn’t one of them. That and the great inking and coloring by Ray Dillon make the world of Themyscira luscious yet real. But the best part? The best part is that while the characters are all drawn with strong contrasting colors and inked with solid lines, the background and distance are slightly opaque making them seem ethereal, lending a magic quality to the frame.
So what is this book about then? What is this incredible art telling? Bad news on that front, it’s another origin story. Because of that the front half of the book moves incredibly slow. I mean it’s necessary because here’s the thing about DC, they keep on mucking up Wonder Woman’s origin story and having to go back and fix the errors. In this case, Wonder Woman is back to being made out of clay; no longer the result of an elicit love affair with Zeus. But really the whole book is going to be the origin story. It’ll follow Princess Diana from birth and through her days as a child on the island, learning to be the ass kicker she will one day become. I’m not that upset about the whole thing. Plus it meant more art exploring the tendrils of Greek mythology and I just spent a whole paragraph proclaiming my love for the art so…
When crafting a story like this it’s important to ask what’s the purpose. If we wanted another Wonder Woman story we could have just dropped her and Steve Trevor on a tarmac fresh from Themyscira and roll from there. Instead we see the intent is to show how Wonder Woman cared deeply for everything, from all her friends and family on the island to the mystical beasts and the unknown beyond. And it’s through that caring that she decides she needs to learn to fight. She needs to protect what she loves, to keep it safe from inevitable darkness. See? Evolution of the character, not just the punching for the spectacle. I mean Diana hardly fights anybody in this book—you know, because she’s a toddler. There’s still plenty of fighting action and thrilling heroics but it looks to be there won’t be a lot of Wonder Woman fight scenes for quite a while. And you know what? That’s fine by me.
There’s a lot to compare Invincible to Wonder Woman. Diana and Mark are both very compassionate individuals who tend towards violence to solve their problems despite how big their hearts are. Both are somewhat the adopted heroes of Earth—but that’s beside the point. For now let’s compare the art on these books because Ryan Ottley has done an amazing job depicting, not only Earth and the heroes on it, but the whole of the universe. And it’s a good thing Ryan’s so talented because he’s been able to construct entire worlds that are completely alien to Earth, something which is actually essential for the story. When Mark and Eve move off Earth for their personal safety, the world they step into is so foreign that there’s no familiarity or feeling of home. Meanwhile, his fights are able to make each Earth shattering hit actually carry weight. “The Legend of Wonder Woman” has been doing much the same thing. Themyscira is a world completely unlike modern society, a foreign place that Diana feels connected to. At the same time there are some training sequences where the fight looks fraught with mortal peril. That’s just training!