WONDER WOMAN : EARTH ONE Volume One
A Lass In Chains
released OUT NOW! Publisher DC Comics Writer Grant Morrison Artist Yanick Paquette
graphic novel Legendary warrior, feminist icon – Wonder Woman is one of DC Comics’ best- known characters, yet she’s lacking the kind of definitive interpretation that both Batman and Superman have received in the past. Now, in the wake of her first live- action movie appearance in Batman V Superman, we’ve got a new jumping- on point for the character as part of DC’s Earth One series of graphic novels.
Scripted by comics mastermind Grant Morrison with gorgeous art from Yanick Paquette, this fresh take on the Wonder Woman origin story is set in the same universe as previous Earth One titles, away from DC’s main continuity. This gives Morrison and Paquette the chance to take risks, and the results are bold and imaginative, if not always entirely successful.
The basic set- up is familiar, as warrior princess Diana finds her life on an island of immortal Amazons disrupted by the arrival of Air Force pilot Steve Trevor, resulting in a journey to the USA and a potentially dangerous culture clash. What’s different is that Morrison has gone back to the source, channelling the original stories of Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston in the same way he tapped into ’ 60s Silver Age comics for the classic All- Star Superman.
This means an unusual approach to the central character, emphasising Diana’s compassion and sense of duty over her abilities as a kick- ass warrior ( barely a punch is thrown). Morrison makes Paradise Island into a complex, ritual- based culture, while happily including the nuttier aspects of early Wonder Woman stories, from healing purple rays to kangaroo jousting.
He also controversially plays up the layer of kinkiness that’s hard- wired into Wonder Woman’s mythos, thanks to concepts like the Lasso of Truth. Marston’s original stories featured surprising levels of kink ( often involving the heroine in chains); a number of eye- opening homages here mean this ranks as one of the most distinctive takes on the character.
Unfortunately, this strategy doesn’t always fit with Yanick Paquette’s lush artwork. The book is a visual feast and Paquette draws startlingly beautiful women, but the art is so heavy on cheesecake- style sexiness and the male gaze that it creates a major dissonance with the story’s intended feminist approach. It’s frustrating: the book is otherwise as well- crafted and inventive as you’d expect from Morrison, yet it’s hard not to end up feeling that the definitive Wonder Woman story is still waiting to be written.
Marston also worked in Hollywood – he tested audience reactions to Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde by monitoring blood pressure.
Now that’s what we call a thorough MOT.