‘The Legend of Wonder Woman’ #1 Stars the Diana We’ve Been Waiting For [Review]
The Legend of Wonder Woman #1, by Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon, is the first chapter of an extended take on Wonder Woman’s origin. The book opens with a history of the Amazons and Queen Hippolyta, leading up to Princess Diana’s birth. It then begins a story about Diana as a child, in which she has a preternatural sense that there’s something mystically askew on Paradise Island, and it may be causing horrifying monsters to attack.
De Liz and Dillon’s take on the young Diana is a delight for Wonder Woman fans. With her voluminous black hair and big blue eyes, the girl who would be Wonder Woman is immediately recognizable among the other young Amazons. She’s a very serious child who strains against the expectations of her royal mother, less interested in learning how to rule Themyscira than how to defend it.
It’s worth remembering that the original Wonder Girl created by Robert Kanigher in the 1950s was an adolescent Diana, who was only later retconned into Donna Troy in a futile effort to make the Silver Age Teen Titans make more sense. So in a sense this comic is a reboot of the original Silver Age Wonder Girl stories, and it’s a worthy one, despite the fact that Mer-Boy and Bird Boy have yet to appear.
The most exciting rebirth in this book, however, is that of Amazon society. The Themyscira we see here is the utopian version that was created by William Moulton Marston and refined by George Perez and others. These aren’t the murderous, predatory Amazons of more recent DC continuity. These are, it’s hard not to think, the Amazons as they’re meant to exist.
I’m no expert on current DC continuity, and for the moment I’m not reading any comics from the Superman office, which includes the books in which grown-up Wonder Woman currently appears. But my assumption is that as a Digital First comic, Legend of Wonder Woman is outside the DC Universe’s continuity. Frankly, that’s a shame. This book should be relaunching Wonder Woman for the future.
I don’t know where this story is going in future issues. But I already know for sure that I want the young girl at the center of this comic to grow up into a Wonder Woman whose adventures I can buy and read every month. I want this Paradise Island to be the Paradise Island that exists in the universe where the bulk of DC’s comics are set.
This is also a story about Diana in her role as the young princess of a magical island. As Wonder Woman starts appearing in movies, and DC is inevitably struggling with how to market the character, it would be wise to look at what De Liz has accomplished here. Perhaps you’ve heard, but magical princess stories are pretty popular with young girls.
Renae De Liz is not a creator I’ve encountered before, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on her work in the future. If I had any sway with DC Comics, I’d be calling them up to say, “Give De Liz Wonder Woman. Just give it to her.” Ray Dillon brings a great deal to the book too. I can’t speak to the divide between De Liz’s pencils and his inks, but the finished product looks fabulous, and his colors are gorgeous.
Comics fans worry a lot about which stories “count,” and that’s a shame. It would make me very happy if this comic was declared “in continuity” by DC, but I’m really just happy that this comic exists. Princess Diana and her magical island are still out there, waiting to be discovered.
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