THIS WEEK: Wonder Woman: Historia #2 continues the masterful retelling of the founding of Themyscira.
Note: the review below contains spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdicts.
Wonder Woman: Historia #2
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist: Gene Ha
Colors: Wesley Wong
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Cover: Gene Ha
Before this review, I must in fact lead with a caveat. I didn’t read this book in the best format for its story. I frustratingly read a low-resolution review copy, which takes away from the grandeur of this book’s scope. There were places in my copy where I had to zoom in to read text, only to find it blurry. But knowing that this is not how the end product will be presented informs my review.
The first issue of Historia was an absolute masterpiece by Phil Jimenez and Kelly Sue DeConnick. That first issue was presented art forward, with Jimenez’s intricate pencil work driving the story in a way that few other artists would have managed. Jimenez gave each of the Greek gods and goddesses a distinct identity, and along with them really and truly breathed life into the six tribes of the Amazons. Jimenez set the stage for the artists to follow and has hinted that if Historia is successful enough to warrant it he’ll return for the final issue as well.
But for now, the pencil has been passed, first to Gene Ha, next to Nicola Scott. Of the three initial artists on this series, Ha was the wildcard for me. I’ve experienced less of his work than I have the other two, and his connection to the Wonder Woman mythos is non-existent. Both Jimenez and Scott have strong ties to the character, and long runs on her book, while Ha had only tangentially worked with her in a handful of Justice League issues. That said, I knew he was a talented artist from his work on the seminal Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix.
He takes the baton well from Phil Jimenez, keeping the tone and look of this series intact, while still injecting enough of his own style to make this issue distinctly his own. The Jimenez designs are still present, but with slight changes as both the gods and Amazons continue to grow throughout the story. I particularly liked how DeConnick and Ha presented Artemis in this second issue. Her personality is a bit impetuous, a bit impulsive. And Ha drew her a bit more youthful and childlike to match this nature. In the back matter of this book, Ha describes his process of working with DeConnick. He shows us examples of how fluid her scripts are for this, to allow her artists to really flex their muscles and own this series in the way that we’ve seen.
While art really drives this series in a way that few comics can ever achieve, the story is also poignant and moving. Historia #2 continues right where the first issue left off, with newly founded Amazon tribes trying to find their place in a world that has a habit of mistreating and devaluing women.
But one thing that stands out to me, is the idea that is briefly played with by the Amazons that some women are less than other women, that because Hippolyta was not Amazon born, she can not be an Amazon. But instead, this idea quickly fades, as the Amazons realize that they stand for and include all women, not just those born into their ranks.
This might seem like a simple statement until you look a little deeper. Looking at this through the lens of a transgender woman and this whole sequence becomes an unabashed statement of inclusion and power. Just because someone wasn’t born into your group doesn’t mean they can’t be accepted into its ranks.
As we draw close to the end of the first act of Wonder Woman: Historia: The Amazons, we are left with the wheels in motion for a conflict between the Amazons and the “slighted” male gods of the Greek pantheon. I eagerly await Nicola Scott’s final issue of this first batch, coming this fall. Even more, though, I eagerly await a collected edition of this book. Preferably in Absolute format where the dedication to art can sing. I encourage everyone to buy this series, preferably in print where you can really take in the whole experience.
- Batman Beyond: Neo Year #1 was a gritty cyberpunk nightmare, and absolutely the best Batman Beyond comic we’ve gotten in a very long time. Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing really capture what makes Terry such a good character, and Max Dunbar’s art really brings Neo Gotham to life in all it’s dirty and bright glory.
- Earth-Prime #1 was both very good, and also has a very specific target audience. If you’re not caught up on the CW shows, the book does a good job of trying to get you up to speed, but it does it with a very text-heavy opening caption telling you where the issue falls in the timeline of the show. I haven’t watched Batwoman recently, but I was able stay mostly aware this issue, and I look forward to the next issue which is for a show that I am caught up with. I really appreciate DC bringing in writers from the shows in question to tackle this project too, it adds a little bit more of an authentic feel.
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