By Ashley Gibbs
I like Wonder Woman, I like who she is and what she stands for and find her to be a good role model. She stands side by side with Superman and Batman forming a trinity of super hero awesomeness. Wonder Woman Annual #1 comes out at a perfect time as the Amazonian princess is also coming to the big screen in her own movie and I feel this book is an excellent collection of short stories that anyone can can enjoy. You do not need to read any prior comic to understand what’s going on, this is great for anyone who is maybe only discovering the character for the first time thanks to the movie or who is like me, a casual fan who still enjoys the character. While it does help to have at least some knowledge of the DC world, the writing no way depends on you having this which is a strong point.
This one-shot collects four short stories focused on Wonder Woman. What I found most interesting was that they focused on her character, not her backstory or anything along those lines but who she is as a person. Her kindness, gentle heart, loyalty, strength as a warrior and of course, her sense of justice. The first story, “And then there were three” is about Batman and Superman meeting her for the first time, it’s a great way to also introduce her to readers as well. Both men realize what a good heart she has and that compared to them, she is pure. Each following story continue this theme, putting Wonder Woman in situations she could easily solve with her super powers but instead solves with her strength of character. While yes, she does get to fight and show off her skills, I really enjoy seeing a hero use more than fists to solve a problem.
Each story has a different artist and wildly different styles, however, they fit their respective stories rather well. My favorite was the first story, this style seemed very traditional in terms of what you would find in a modern day superhero comic, characters are expressive and proportioned well and there is a good use of colors without a cartoony feel. The last story was my least favorite, in it Wonder Woman is dealing with a kaiju -a giant monster. The style is very cartoonish which isn’t bad but I did not enjoy how characters were drawn. Diana herself seemed very boxy with huge hands and her hair was longer than I’ve ever seen it depicted. We don’t see many other characters but they also seem to suffer from oversized hands, however the kaiju looks just fine. While this story has a lighthearted tone I wasn’t happy the book ends with this art style.
Reading Wonder Woman Annual #1 was a great experience, especially before going to see the movie. I was reminded of what makes her such an endearing character and even found tears in my eyes while reading the third story about a warrior’s honor and duty to protect their people that was beautifully paired with haunting artwork. Each of the four tales are well written and perfect for some casual adventures with Wonder Woman. I highly recommend this book to fans of the character and especially as a way for newer fans to enjoy her. While there is some violence that may not sit right with some younger readers, I do feel the messages conveyed here are important especially for young girls.
Writing: Greg Rucka, Vita Ayala, Michael Moreci, Collin Kelley, Jackson Lanzing
Art: Nicola Scott, Claire Roe, Stephanie Hans, David Lafuente
Colors: Romulo Farjardo Jr, Jordie Bellaire, John Rauch
Lettering: Jodi Wynne, Josh Reed, Dave Sharpe
Publisher: DC Comics