- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Titan Books Ltd (24 April 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1845765583
- ISBN-13: 978-1845765583
- Product Dimensions: 17 x 25.9 x 1.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,466,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Wonder Woman: Who is Wonder Woman?: Who Is Wonder Woman? Paperback – 24 Apr 2009
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More About the Author
About the Author
Allan Heinberg first rose to fame outside the comics industry as a key writer for the smash-hit teen soap TV series, The O.C. He cemented his reputation with Marvel Comics' enormously successful series Young Avengers. Terry and Rachel Dodson are a fan-favourite penciller and inker team (respectively) whose work includes Generation X, Pryde and Wisdom, Spider-Man, Storm, Teen Titans, Trouble and Star Wars.
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Top Customer Reviews
I was blown away by both the art and Story telling that proves Wonder Woman deserves her place in DC's big three.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The story went absolutely nowhere and he had no grasp whatsoever of who Diana is. Heinberg's Diana is a total incompetent who is reliant on Batman and Superman for everything she has: the secret ID, her job, her transportation, and more. That is NOT what Wonder Woman was or is about: she is a self-reliant, independent, intelligent woman...Heinberg's Diana never displayed any of that. His Wonder Woman is dependent on all the men in her life and is, essentially, stupid. He showed a great lack of research into Diana's history and overall foundation in how he portrayed her. Any time Batman, Robin, Superman, or Nemesis appear in the story, it becomes theirs. The men in this title shine while Diana, the supposed star of the book, looks the fool. This storyline is entitled "Who Is Wonder Woman?" It's clear the writer never knew since he never answers the question himself.
This collection is printed on paper thinner than the actual comic book issues and the once-vibrant colors look washed out. There are some character design sketches in the back of the book by Terry Dodson.
Buy this only for The Dodson artwork; the definitive Wonder Woman artists of the modern era.
I've already spent more time writing this review than Allan Heinberg did "writing" this five issue collection. A huge letdown.
At the end of "Infinite Crisis", Diana of Themyscira's status quo was not in an inspiring place. Geoff Johns (a friend of Heinberg's, a factor which doubtless influenced the reboot negatively), the author, believed very strongly that the version of Wonder Woman created by George Perez in 1987 was seriously flawed by her lack of a secret identity and because her purpose was to teach Amazon philosophy to the rest of the world, rather than to be shown how wrong her whole culture was an adopt American culture (said Amazon culture is blatantly misconstrued in many ways as well). Not a particularly inspiring place for a reboot to start, but Heinberg takes this concept and runs with it. Moreover, as Heinberg himself has said, his primary interest in Wonder Woman comes from the camp 70s Lynda Carter TV show, not from any of the comics produced with the character in the last 20 years, and so he sets out to remake George Perez's wonderful reboot with a massive nostalgia injection (dispiritingly, this is DC Comics' answer to a lot of things these days). In short succession, we get:
- Secret Agent Diana Prince as a secret identity, complete with campy spin transformation.
- A heavily reimagined Nemesis as a sexist, arrogant love interest (if you want to bring back pre-Crisis Steve Trevor, which I would strongly discourage, just bring back Steve Trevor).
- Wonder Woman and "Diana Prince" actually being different bodies, along with it the idea that Wonder Woman literally doesn't bleed.
- The idea that up until this point, Wonder Woman has thought of herself as not being anything more than a golem brought to life, which is completely wrong.
Finally, and, for fans of the character as she existed from 1987 to 2006, most gallingly:
- Diana's 'answer' the question 'Who is Wonder Woman?' concludes that she was originally sent by gods to preach to mortals, "but she learned to be human instead", and protected mortals from gods; this is, quite frankly, a monstrous abortion hackjob on George Perez's story, where the representative of an enlightened culture was sent by the benevolent Pantheon to prevent the rogue War God Ares from destroying the world. By the end of the story, Diana has embraced the idea that she has nothing to offer the world other than punching people, and that her whole culture is wrongheaded; how wonderful. Of course, looking back, the worst ("Amazons Attack") was yet to come.
Quite apart from the broader issues with Heinberg's relaunch approach, the story is not fitting the character's stature. She had a whole year to take a vacation and work out her issues, but, based on Heinberg's story, that whole year accomplished absolutely nothing; for a character known for intelligence and decisiveness, this is nothing less than an insult. Also insulting is her general portrayal here, as well as those of supporting cast members like Donna Troy, as generally hapless and stupid. The big finale sees the entire DC Universe arrive to lend a hand, since Diana can't defeat her own villains by herself, apparently.
The villains issue is, by the way, both the strongest and the weakest aspect of this arc; Heinberg has actually dug up a bunch of old Wonder Woman rogues (her rogues gallery is notoriously weak for a character of her professed importance) who hadn't been seen in twenty years or more, and, for the most part, they actually seem interesting. Reintroduced at a solid pace, with focus and attention, one could see most of them being put to good use; but Heinberg's only doing five issues (thank God, given how long it took for him to write even that), so he just throws them all in at once with captions saying who they are, with the result being that they all get lost in the shuffle and make absolutely no impression.
For a positive, the art by Terry and Rachel Dodson is wonderful stuff, generally; it's a shame they didn't get a better story to illustrate.
Avoid at all costs.
The book isn't perfect, but there is some strength that others ignore. The title of the book, "Who is Wonder Woman?" actually plays more than has been let on.
For starters, is it just a name of a superhero? Is Wonder Woman the Champion of the Gods? Is she the champion of Women? Is Wonder Woman a warrior that is willing to kill? The book highlights all these questions.
Its greatest weakness is, of course, Diana's answer to the "Who is Wonder Woman?" As it flies in the face of the character's established roots. However, its not like every single spoken word in a Wonder Woman book has to be taken as Gospel. Just substitue your own answer if you don't like what you read.
While the big villains battle at the end was entertaining, the JSA had to spoil it by coming in to help. Certainly, it's logical (since they also helped Superman upon his return to Metropolis,) but it would have been more fun to see Diana take on her entire rogue's gallery without them.
Another head-scratcher is why Circe would do Diana the favor of making her human, if she despises her?
And, Wonder Girl's anger with Diana solves itself too quickly, and smells of an aborted subplot.
Despite this. Nemesis is not sexist. Men don't steal the spotlight from Diana. And her relationship with Clark and Bruce is perfectly normal. It's a perfectly serviceable relaunch of the character. It put her in a different place than where she was before, and like all drastic changes, it's certain to leave some fans cold.
However, after this introduction into Diana's new status quo, feel free to skip the next few volumes of Wonder Woman, and continue with Wonder Woman: The Circle. And subsequent stories by Gail Simone