Title: Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine
Author: Tim Hanley
Star Rating: * * * *
Genre: Pop culture analysis, Superhero
Thanks to NetGalley and Chicago Review Press who provided me with a free copy of this book in return for a fair review.
Background and Synopsis
Wonder Woman is a very hot topic at the moment due to the immense popularity of superhero movies, and the unfortunate absence of female leads in any of these films. For Marvel, the conversation has been focused on Black Widow, a character that has at least gotten screen time. For DC, the heroine at the heart of these discussions is Wonder Woman, one of their “holy trinity” of main properties. However, despite the fact that she is supposedly one of the central DC characters, Wonder Woman is often ignored in terms of merchandise and non-comic appearance opportunities. This has led to a situation where most people could probably talk about the histories of Batman and Superman, but are largely ignorant of Wonder Woman’s origins and basic story premises.
Hanley published Wonder Woman Unbound to try and clear up some of the confusion regarding this iconic character. He painstakingly details her history, from the golden age to today, talking about how her stories have been affected by different authors and varying time periods. To those who think Wonder Woman is too confusing a character, Hanley proves them wrong by presenting Wonder Woman as a hero who has undergone extensive changes like all the other major superheroes of DC and Marvel, but she has multiple histories and origins that can be drawn upon to make a cohesive, interesting, and empowering whole.
The following two reviews are going to be short because I find it hard to write about books that I really enjoy. Instead of giving people a fair and accurate description of the good and the bad, I just want to run around in delight, babbling about all the things that I liked. To prevent my review from becoming just a series of animated gifs, I’m going to challenge myself to be brief and concise in my attempts to encourage people to read the latest volumes of both The Unwritten and Locke and Key!
Also, since both books are new or soon-to-be-released entries in popular series, let me be clear that there are at least some SPOILERS AHOY!!!!
Pierre L’Errant is an Anishinabe man who has been away from home for centuries. When the desire to come back becomes too much to bear, he flies to Otter Lake to deal with his inner demons. However, when he arrives, he finds himself embroiled in the problems of the family that he is staying with. Tiffany, the teenager of the house, is struggling. Her parents are separated, her boyfriend isn’t treating her well, her grades are dropping at school, and her dad refuses to understand her difficulties. By intervening, Pierre not only helps Tiffany start to sort through her issues, but he comes to a conclusion about his own struggles.
Sally Mitchell was seconds away from being taken off life support when she miraculously woke up. The only explanation that the doctors could suggest was that her tape worm implant managed to save her from the effects of her terrible car crash. After all, in 2027, who doesn’t have one of these helpful creatures in their guts to help control their health?
Six years after her accident, Sal remembers nothing of her previous life and just wants to move on. However, her family still wants their “old” daughter back, and Symbogen, the corporation behind the intestinal implants, is still very interested in her as a test subject. When people start falling ill to a mysterious “sleeping sickness” that seems to turn people into mindless, violent automatons, Sal’s life becomes even more of a mess. Wanting answers, she reaches out to an anonymous source who speaks to her in code, but the truth leaves her with difficult choices about who she needs to be loyal to and who she really is.
Wonder Woman, the superhero, the diplomat, and the princess of an entire culture, comes face-to-face with the conflicts inherent in her many roles in Mission’s End. Her task has been to bring a message of peace and diplomacy to the world outside of Themyscira,but this work has been complicated by the fact that she spends so much of her time defending Earth from terrifying threats. When a new villain arises who is able to control Superman and use him as a weapon, Wonder Woman determines that the only way to protect the planet is to kill this enemy. However, she faces extreme backlash from both her fellow heroes, as well as the civilian population of Earth. How can someone supposedly devoted to peace bypass all systems of justice and act in such a vigilante manner? On the other hand, was there any other rational choice?
Note: Heavy spoilers throughout the entire review!
After the events in A Beautiful Mystery, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache finds himself almost alone in his battle against those in Sûreté who want to destroy him. He and Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir have not spoken in months, the homicide department has been gutted and stacked with disloyal agents, and it seems like Gamache is about to lose everything that he has worked for during his career. However, the Chief Inspector is not ready to give in quite yet.
There are two central plots being dealt with in this book. As with each of the novels, a murder has been committed, and it once again involves the village of Three Pines. One of Myrna’s acquaintances was murdered in her home as she was packing to visit, and during the investigation it comes out that she was one of the famous Ouellet quintuplets. To solve this case, Gamache must explore her background as a child used by her country as a commodity, and try to uncover who could have possibly wanted to violently murder a quiet woman who had absolutely no friends or close loved ones.
As he attempts to solve this mystery, Gamache is also trying to root out corruption in the Sûreté and determine exactly who managed to avoid capture during the infamous Arnot case. As he gets closer to exposing the closely held secrets of his enemies, he and his allies must flee Montreal for their safety. Who can they trust to help them, if anyone, and can they figure out what Gamache’s enemies are planning before more people die?