REVIEW: Wonder Woman Vol 1: The Just War
As you all know, I’m a huge Superman fan. With that being said, I am also a fan of other superheroes (believe it or not), and Wonder Woman is second on my list. Admittedly, I previously tended to read only Superman comics, but I have started to branch out now, and here is my review for the first Wonder Woman comic book that I’ve read – Volume 1: The Just War.
Now, like I said this book is a volume – a collaboration of previous comic book issues that have been previously released. This book is a collection of issues #58-65 is written by G. Willow Wilson, with art by Cary Nord.
Speaking of art, the cover is incredible. Terry & Rachel Dodson have created this powerful image of Wonder Woman as she hoists two male soliders with ease above her head. The colours and shading on the cover is very realistic and really brings the image to life. This is truly an iconic piece, that I would love to be framed on my wall!
The volume follows Wonder Woman as she embarks on a mission against the orders of Etta Candy and The Army, in order to save Steve Trevor who has been kidnapped in Eastern Europe. Instead of finding her beloved, she instead she finds Ares – The God of War – who claims that he has been “reborn” after somehow escaping his prison cell in Themyscira. We later find that he is not the only God and creature that has been found stranded on Earth, and it later unfolds that something tragic and devastating has happened to The Amazonian Princesses home, but what? What has happened to her world? What has happened to her mother, Hippolyta?
G. Willow Wilson has completely nailed her portrayal of these characters. Whether readers are familiar with Wonder Woman and her ways or not, this is a great chance for new readers to get to know her a little more. Despite her strength in this series Diana constantly questions herself and looks for guidance from others, which is odd but incredible to see. Usually we see her so confident and fearless, but the current situation she is in has her scared for those around her, she needs to know if she is doing the right thing or if she too is making a mistake.
The fact that she questions herself, makes her that little more human, despite the fact that she is an Amazonian Princess and The Daughter of Zeus. She also leans on others for help, which is touching to see. The relationship that she has with Steve Trevor and Etta Candy is lovely, they all are in similar situations and dangers, one is significantly stronger than the others, but they all support each other and fight against their troubles equally. I feel when using a character like this to portray a specific message, it’s important to make them relatable. Not just to make the book more realistic, but also to show that even the strongest of characters have those same moments that we do. The emotional issues and strains that Diana has in this series are shown through the artwork by Cary Nord and Xermanico and it’s perfectly done.
The villains showcased in this book are great too, I absolutely love it when a villain has a valid point that makes the hero question and doubt themselves. That truly is a complicated and layered villain, and this book as plenty of those moments, whereby they believe they are doing right, but instead are encouraging hate and in some cases death.
This collection of issues have the perfect blend of realism and mythology. What I also love about it, is that the tables are slightly turned. Usually it is the mortals that seek guidance from the Gods, in this case it is the other way around – it’s the mortals that are teaching the Gods the true meaning of their strengths. Steve Trevor teaches Aphrodite what it is to love, and the victims of the war show Ares how the war he has created effects them.
The reason I say that the book contains realism is because the term “exile” and “refugee” are used throughout, this is something that we are unfortunately all too familiar with. Quite often, superhero comics can focus around complete fantasy with supervillains and space etc. Although aspects of this book contained Gods, I absolutely love it when comics tackle real life issues that are relevant in today’s society. Although that sounds very serious, the book was perfectly broken up with moments of humour – specifically from the mythological creatures that too found themselves stuck on Earth and trying to fit in.
This book has a lot of layers to it and revolves around several different situations and issues throughout. The way that G. Willow Wilson has written this is very well done. Sometimes when there is a lot going on it’s hard to portray and explain that with an exact flow, but despite the number of things going on, the flow of the book is steady and concise. I admit, perhaps it would have been beneficial to focus around one aspect, resolve that and then lead on to the next, but I had no quarrels with that.
The artwork by Cary Nord and Xermanico is absolutely spectacular. The pair perfectly create action scenes and pages, there’s just something about seeing Wonder Woman in numerous battle poses which just really inspires me. Several of the pages look like they have been pulled straight from the 2017 Wonder Woman film, and that is not a bad thing at all – instead it adds a sense of nostalgia. The colour scale and tones are very realistic and grounded to match with the tone of the story. As there is realism and mythology in the story, this is also reflected in the colours, when those aspects of the story are being focused on the colour scheme goes a little brighter, which is cleverly done.
Like I said before, the writing is very well done. Wilson provides us with some incredible narration throughout. Not only does it show Wonder Woman’s methods of thinking, but it also shows the way that her plans (specifically battle plans) spins out into motion. She really thinks about everything that she’s doing and it’s really interesting and inspiring to see what goes on in her head. That isn’t always the case with narrations, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
Overall this book was really entertaining, I really enjoyed it. Like I said at the start, my comic reading tended to focus around Superman, so it was really fun to get to know another character in more detail. I certainly will be exploring more Wonder Woman comic books after reading this, thank you for inspiring me Willow.
To top it all off, I had the opportunity to speak with the wonderful G.Willow Wilson herself! We talked Wonder Woman (of course), about her upcoming project and who she’d like to write in the future! Check out the full interview here.
Want to pick up a copy of your very own? You can order it online here (UK), or here (US).