Girls in Capes

Women, men & minorities in geek culture and pop culture

Comics 101, Issue #001: Wonder Woman (The New 52)

Comics 101 is an introduction to running series for those who are interested in trying comics, but are unsure of what to try. The Comics 101 series is aimed particularly at female readers who may be interested in trying comics for the first time.

wonder-womanOf the many female heroes in comics, Wonder Woman (Diana Prince) is probably the most famous. Originally created in 1941, the princess of the Amazons has seen many incarnations in comics and even in her 1970s TV show starring Lynda Carter.

The newest of the Wonder Woman comic book series re-launched in 2011 when DC Comics rebooted most of their series in The New 52. Many characters and teams were revamped, with some even gaining new backstories.

Wonder Woman was one of those characters. Originally, her origin story involved being not born, but formed from clay by the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta. She grew to have the strengths and talents of different gods and goddesses, eventually leaving the Amazons’ island of Themyscira after U.S. airman Steve Trevor crashed his plane on the island.  In the New 52, it’s revealed her from-clay origin was simply a cover-up for Hippolyta’s affair with Zeus, making Diana a demigoddess in origin.

While the change in background has been somewhat controversial among long-time fans of Wonder Woman, the new series has been critically well-received – impressive among the titles in the New 52 in general – and Wonder Woman is one of the few interesting female characters in the DC Universe who wasn’t turned into a glorified sex zombie with the relaunch.

WW_vol2_gutsPersonally, I’ve been less impressed with the New 52 Wonder Woman than I was with some of the graphic novels I read before – The Hiketeia and Who Is Wonder Woman? both come to mind. However, I love the art in the books, and I enjoy the way the different Greek gods and goddesses have been reimagined.

I’m not a huge fan of the change in origin story, and I’m also not a fan of returning her costume to a glorified, breast-baring swimsuit – I definitely preferred her outfit with pants and a jacket to the swimsuit version. Yet with DC Comics’ many controversies over the hiring and representation of women in their various series and the hypersexualization of many DC Universe women, Diana’s one-piece is actually rather minor compared to the characterization and the level of both the art and writing in her series.

If you’re interested in picking up the series, the April issue will be WONDER WOMAN #19 and will be released later in the month. Issues 1-6 of the New 52 Wonder Woman series are collected in Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Blood. Issues 7-12 can be found in Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Guts.

Tip Sheet:

  • Wonder Woman focuses on its title character, Princess Diana of the Amazons, as she navigates not only the world outside Themyscira, but also the world of Greek legends and gods.
  • WONDER WOMAN #18 (The New 52) was available starting March 20.
  • Wonder Woman is one of DC Comics’ main legacy titles and has appeared in comics since 1941.

You may like Wonder Woman if:

  • You’re a fan of stories based on Greek mythology, such as the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
  • You love strong, kick-ass female protagonists like Buffy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) or Lara Croft (The Tomb Raider franchise).
  • You don’t mind learning backstory or catching up on comics.

Have you read Wonder Woman?  Would you recommend this series to a new comics reader?

Feliza Casano is the founder and editor of Girls in Capes and writes for all sections of the magazine. She is a relatively new reader of comics and is more than happy to test drive new series. She originally fell in love with the Teen Titans animated series.

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About Feliza

Feliza Casano is a writer and editor with a love of speculative fiction, graphic novels, and good books. She writes and edits at Girls in Capes (GirlsinCapes.com) and contributes to other websites on science fiction and fantasy topics.

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This entry was posted on April 5, 2013 by in Comics & Graphic Novels and tagged , , , , .

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