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.
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?
Editor: Brian Azzarello (Writer), Cliff Chiang (Illustrator), Tony Akins (Illustrator)
Star Rating: * * *
Genre: Graphic Novel, Superhero
In 2011, the entire DC universe was rebooted, giving the company a chance to take a new look at their characters. Years of history were wiped out, and the timeline was set just a few years after the main superheroes had started their careers. Wonder Woman underwent some of the biggest changes, and her entire world and supporting cast were restructured into a book that had a lot more in common with a horror novel than your typical superhero comic.
The book begins with an attack on a young woman called Zola because she is pregnant with Zeus’ child. She is taken into Wonder Woman’s protection, and this is the beginning of a story about the disappearance of Zeus and the vacuum of power that he has left in his wake. Along the way, Wonder Woman discovers that everything she believed about her past is a lie, and she’s forced to engage with the political machinations of the Greek pantheon in an attempt to save the life of Zola and understand herself.