I've just finished reading this book, and I can't hold it in. I have to talk about it. I've waited for years to see this volume finally reach my hands; Adam Hughes was originally slated to write and draw the project before Batman: Earth One vol 1 came out, and I've been amped for it since then. Seeing Yanick Paquette's artwork for the statue, then promos made me even more excited (if you don't follow Yanick on DA, you need to). For the first time in years, maybe even in my entire lifetime as a comic fan, I got the book within the first few days of publication.
IT WAS AWFUL.
It wasn't just "I don't like the direction they took with the character" bad, or "there are inconsistancies in the story" bad. It was "what the bloody hell did I just read" bad. It was so bad that I had to force myself to get past the third page. It was that bad.
Let's start with something positive, though: the art. Man, that art looks great. Like I said, if you don't follow Yanick Paquette on DA, you're missing out. In this volume, he basically draws like a sublime mix of Adam Hughes, Brian HItch and Greg Tochinni. Every face is supremely expressive, every anotomical feature is perfectly sculpted, and every architectural feature is supremely detailed. The inks in some places are a little sloppy, though. He's trying to use a "Paul Neary via The Ultimates" kind of style, but the pen strokes are a little too thick and sloppy to deliver the effect he's looking for. But, that said, the man is a superb draftsman at the top of his game.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Grant Morrison. It almost seems to me that tere are two Morrisons - the sublime genius who wrote All-star Superman, and the blithering imbecile who took over Action Comics after the New 52 reboot. Make no mistake, you're dealing with the latter in this book. A lot of fuss has been made about the lesbianism and bondage themes in this book. I'm fine with that. If you've ever read early Wonder Woman or anything about the life of her creator, William Marston, you'll find that these themes are in line with her creation and Golden Age persona. If those are your only sticking points when reading this story, I don't know what to tell you.
Let's start with the beginning...*SPOILER ALERT*...LAST WARNING....
Hercules starts off the book with Hippolyta in chains, about to rape her. Now, I know this is pulled from George Perez's run (and it didn't sit right with me even then), but there was more to it than just some swole a-hole in a loincloth raping people in the original story. Hopefully, if Shazam shows up in this Earth One universe, he won't be a serial rapist. Hippo promptly strangles Hercules, has her amazons kill his army, and then announces "no more shackles." Then, she proceeds to create AN ENTIRE CULTURE CENTERED ON BONDAGE. That, ladies and gents, is called a "plot hole": when one part of a story directly contradicts other parts. A plot hole isn't just a part of a plot that doesn't make sense...but, rest assured, we're given plenty of both as the book goes on. Let's hit some of the highlights:
• Diana is constantly yelling "Hola" for some reason. If they explain in the book why she loves to say "hello" in Spanish, I didn't catch it.
• The Wonder Woman costume is a drum majorette suit that was given to her by a bunch of sorority chicks as a joke.
• Hippolyta summons Medusa to "remind (Diana) how frail and temporary is the flesh of man"...she finds him at a hotel, turns him to stone, then literally walks out the front door. We don't hear anything else about her. In the next panel, a military unit storms the hotel. I guess she just kinda went around them, right?
• The amazons ride invisible space ships, floating motorcycles, and KANGAROOS. Yep.
• Steve Trevor helps Diana keep the location of Paradise Island a secret because he's black. He says so, while holding the lasso of truth.
These are just the greatest hits...every page is literally rife with ridiculousness that just made me shake my head. Make no mistake, I love this character. My first exposure to superheroes was the Super Powers Team cartoon show from the early 80's, in which Diana played a prominent role. Also, as many of you who follow me know, I'm a passionate fan of Greek and Roman history and mythology, which makes the character that much more appealing to me. All it takes is a cursory glance at my gallery to see how much I love Wonder Woman. Even that intense enjoyment of the character couldn't salvage this book for me (although, again, Yanick came through in fine style with the research...the intro sequence has some amazing black line pottery-style art, and some great examples of 5th century Corinthian helmets and weaponry). I intend to sell this turd on eBay asap, and use the proceeds to buy Greg Rucka and Brian Azzarello back issues.