Wonder Woman: The True Amazon
Publisher: DC Comics © 2016
Writer and Artist: Jill Thompson
Letterer: Jason Arthur
Wonder Woman created by: William Moulton Marston
Going in I knew nothing of the book really or of its creator. Yet, the cover was enough for me and the fact it was a one-shot piece. By the end I was blown away by Thompson’s creation and I dare say it is one of the best Wonder Woman stories ever. True Amazon is a retelling of Diana’s origin to Wonder Woman. Yes, people hate origins stories and I think part of this is because they already know what happened or happens. As right as they may be I personally do not mind origin stories. The problem being is not one single character or actual person’s origin can be fully taken into account in 10 pages, 30 pages, a full-length motion picture or a full television season. With that said we look into Diana as a young child, a young child on Amazon and a daughter of royalty. Diana’s childhood to teenage years have never been scratched before, save for an issue in the Azzarello run, I cannot recall anything. On top of this the origin goes a different route with the character. Imagine if you would a young Princess Diana as bratty, spoiled and selfish little child. Now some of you may hate the premise of your hero sinking to such a level. We were all kids once and did or acted in childish ways. I ask you, why should Wonder Woman be any different? It also makes sense given Diana’s background as someone special in birth and status, being the clay-made, god given flesh daughter of the Queen of Amazons. True Amazon is less of just a simple origin tale, or an issue in Diana’s life. We have a journey to the role of hero and coming of age story. Yes, Wonder Woman is based in Greek origins and goes up against Greek threats, but this is the first story ever that truly felt as Greek myth to me not just some run-of-the mill action borrowing Greek myths for a brawl.
If the story telling is not already good enough Jill Thompson provides a wonderful art form as well. Everything is painted! There are no inks, just watercolors. Sometimes I almost prefer this in my comics, like this or Alex Ross for example. The pages are beautifully colored with bits of gold, lavender, turquoise and more. Yet, it is not in that bright, frantic comic book coloring neither. No, the colors are subtle. Meanwhile, the environments and costumes feel something of a Hollywood film taking place in Greek or Rome. There are simple costumes, but also extravagant ones as well, especially the black, regal dress of Queen Hippolyta.. There is timelessness to Thompson’s work here. Her painting, panel layout and designs give this graphic novel something of a great story book feel that comes to define an innocent part of your life, that you want to share and show to everyone with its emotions. I would dare put this up there with one of the best children’s story books – Where The Wild Things Are, personally. And I would dare say this can be read to children. It does follow an earnest narrative to some degree, but nothing overly adult and complicated neither. Plus, it has a very important lesson in the end for children I would argue.
The story telling and art are huge winners but what truly grabbed me from this book was the ending. In the conclusion Jill Thompson delivered us a tragedy, something usually devoid from Wonder Woman’s mythos. Tragedy is what sometimes breathes sympathy for our characters. No one comes from a perfect world with a perfect life like other Wonder Woman mythos I am sorry, thus it can be hard to identify. Through Diana here we learn about consequences of our actions. Truth be told, this is the first graphic novel/comic book whatever mind you that actually brought me to tears. Just thinking about it still does. I have never seen this side of Diana before. By the end of the book Thompson has truly crafted a phenomenal work of tragic theater in a sense. I wish I could say more but I dare not spoil it. I highly encourage the reading of this book and share it with your children if you have any. Share it, especially if you have a daughter, for it is truly a touching book to teach humility, respect, patience and compassion.
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