Wonder Woman by George Pérez Omnibus Volume One
Writer: George Pérez, Len Wein
Artist: George Pérez
Wonder Woman. She’s considered the third part of the DC trinity alongside Superman and Batman. Some people don’t understand this. They’ll argue that Batman and Superman are more prominent than Princess Diana of Themyscira. They get more films, more comic releases, more TV shows and they’re featured more in advertising. Given all that, how can Wonder Woman be anywhere near the same level? A big part of that is down to the high quality of this run on the character. Pérez’ Wonder Woman not only rebooted the character’s backstory but it took her more seriously. Hopefully, this review will give you an idea of why it was so positively received.
Previously, Wonder Woman had been a bit of a joke. She’d been heavily associated with bondage. It was her kryptonite, her weakness so many of her comics had her tied up in some fashion. It created the image of a damsel in distress rather than a strong, independent hero. The focus on romance that the character displayed over the years didn’t help in this regard. It wasn’t really until the Lynda Carter TV series in the 70’s when the character started to pick up steam. Prior to this run, the DC universe had been rebooted as part of the epic Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline. DC had to re-introduce its characters to the public and George Pérez was set the task of writing Wonder Woman for a modern audience. It was a hell of a task.
The series starts with a re-telling of Wonder Woman’s origin. We see the history of the island of Themyscira and the Amazons as well as the creation of Princess Diana. I’d say that what sets this version of Diana’s backstory apart from the original is the added detail and realism. For example, we see the violence and betrayal the Amazons go through before coming to Themyscira. The first origin couldn’t have shown any of the violence against women required to portray this story due to censorship. Pérez also makes sure to portray his female characters with emotional depth. Nearly every major and supporting character in this series has multiple layers to them. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Wonder woman herself, a villain like Ares or a side-character like the god Hermes.
As the book goes on we’re introduced to a number of updated Wonder woman villains. We see Diana have her first post-crisis encounters with the likes of Silver Swan, Cheetah, Ares and Circe. They’re all good stories. I feel the Circe character is the weakest of the 4 in this run. That disappointed me a little since she’s become one of my favourite villains as a result of more recent comics. It’s more than made up for by the others though. Ares is the highlight. He only features as the villain of a single story in this book. Still, thanks to his dialogue and his character depth he became an instant favourite villain for me.
Cheetah and Swan are kind of like the flip-sides of one another throughout the series. They both gain their powers and physical appearance from an outside source. Cheetah through magic and Silver Swan through science. They’re polar opposites in terms of personality. Cheetah is an egotist who’s verbally abusive towards her henchman, Chuma. Meanwhile, Swan is a deeply insecure woman trapped in an abusive relationship with her husband. The one criticism I have of this run is that it neglects to explore this contrast. It still makes for some interesting characters and interactions with Wonder Woman though. Diana herself is no slouch in terms of character either. Throughout this series, she constantly shows curiosity, bravery, intelligence, insecurity, naivete she’s driven, kind, compassionate, and wants peace. Despite this, she’s willing to resort to violence and even kill when absolutely necessary.
This omnibus covers the first 24 issues of the Pérez Wonder Woman series along with the first annual. It’s a good chunk of the run and after reading all 3 omnibuses that make up the series I’d say it’s the strongest of the 3. That’s not a knock on volumes 2 and 3 though. The writing here is as strong as it gets. George Pérez’s artwork is nothing to be sniffed at either. His art in this series is realistic but incredibly detailed. His portrayals of the numerous places, beings, and creatures from Greek culture is phenomenal. It’s easy to see why he’s considered such a legend in the comics industry after reading this.
The book has a sewn binding that keeps you from suffering gutter loss throughout its 640 pages. It’s on the smaller side compared to most omnibuses but it’s very well-built and easy to handle. This is one of the few omnibuses I’ve read that I’ve been able to simply hold like a regular book. There are some decent special features here too. We get in-depth profiles on Diana and a number of other characters along with some artwork related to the series. It’s pretty impressive, especially given the reduced size and price tag of this omnibus. The build-quality and special features of the DC omnibus line don’t tend to be as strong as the Marvel ones. It’s a common criticism of them but this Wonder Woman omnibus fits right in with the best Marvel can offer.
In summary, Wonder Woman is on the same level as Batman and Superman because of the strength of her character. She and her supporting cast have an incredible amount of depth to them. I’d argue even more than Superman does. She may not be as popular but her high quality keeps her up at the top of the DC tower. Books like this one are a prime example of that high quality. It’s no mistake that the Gal Gadot film was loosely based on the first arc of this series. If you’re a fan or even new to comics then you should absolutely give this omnibus a read. It’s one of the best comic runs I’ve ever read, a true standout of the ’80s.
Wonder Woman by George Perez Omnibus Volume One
This is an amazing book. The storytelling is some of the best DC had to offer in the 80's. Considering that decade is largely viewed as one of the best in comics history that's high praise. The artwork, it's Pérez. Need I say more? It's stunning. There are times where you see some art in this book and you just want to stop reading entirely and admire it. It's that good. The characters are well-written and each have a lot of emotional depth to them. The build quality is fantastic. This is one of the best built DC omnibuses available and the special features are pretty good, although somewhat standard among omnibuses.