A Beginner’s Guide to Wonder Woman

Jun. 1 will finally see the big screen debut of comic’s most iconic and important female superhero: Wonder Woman AKA Diane Prince. For a character who doesn’t have as much media exposure as her contemporaries, the Princess of the Amazonians has enjoyed a rich history in comics. For fans of the film, character or comics in general, here is a beginner’s guide to some of the best material featuring the first lady of comics.

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Wonder Woman (1987-2006) Vol. Gods and Mortals
Writers: George Perez, Len Wein, Greg Potter
Art: George Perez

The post-Crisis origins of Wonder Woman are described in this volume. Co-written by DC superstars George Perez (New Teen Titans), Len Wein (Swamp Thing) and Greg Potter (Jemm: Son of Saturn), this tale delves into the mythological aspects of the character, as the origins of the Amazons and their absence from man’s world, as well as Diana’s relationship to the Greek Pantheon, are detailed. Perez is also on art in this volume, and man, can that guy draw epic sequences, architecture, and anatomy. This classic reimagining of the Wonder Woman mythos is well worth a read, if only as a prelude to…

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Wonder Woman: War of the Gods
Writer: George Perez
Art: George Perez, Cynthia Martina

Written by George Perez and co-penciled with Cynthia Martina and Jill Thompson, this Wonder Woman epic pits Olympus against their Roman counterparts, with the DC universe caught in the middle. Diana leads the charge against the gods, and the nefarious Circe. If you were ever curious as to why Wonder Woman stands as the middle pillar of the DC trinity, here’s why.

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Justice League: A League of One
Story/Art: Christopher Moeller

Though it’s not exclusively a Wonder Woman story, I would be remiss not to mention this epic by Christopher Moeller. Centring around the warrior princess in the last stand between an ancient dragon and the end of the world, this brisk 105-page story is beautifully rendered. Moeller paints every panel as if it were the cover for a metal album, and each page burns bright like a golden sunrise.  It also has Wonder Woman beat the crap out of the entirety of the League, proving she’s just as tough as the boys.

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Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Blood (in addition, Vol. 2-6)
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Pencils: Cliff Chiang, Tony Akins

This is the beginning of Brian Azzarello’s stellar New 52 run on the character.  If you want badass Diana, this is the place to find it, as Azzarello is all about non-stop action. Cliff Chang’s figuration and posing during action sequences are consistently solid, and the designs for everything related to the Greek Pantheon is unlike anything seen before. The entire run is filled with awesome plot twists and turns, and while the current Wonder Woman Rebirth is also well worth a read, it’s sad to see it replace this contemporary version, making it become irrelevant.

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Wonder Woman: The True Amazon
Story/Art: Jill Thompson

Jill Thompson delivers a fresh take on Diana Prince in this self-contained graphic novel. Painted with beautiful and flowing watercolours, Thompson depicts an imperfect Wonder Woman, one who must learn humility and honesty. Especially great for young readers, True Amazon explores new depths in the Wonder Woman legend. Even the “perfect” woman makes mistakes sometimes; it’s growing past your grievances that define you as a hero.

It kills me to end this article here, as there’s so much I missed (honourable mentions include Wonder Woman Earth One, Legend of Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman: TruthWonder Woman: Lies and Year One, and Gail Simone’s run). That being said, this is good start anyone who wants to visit Themyscira’s favourite daughter.

(Featured image courtesy of DCComics.com)

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