The long-anticipated wait for Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette’s Wonder Woman: Earth One – Volume 2 is over. Earth One is another reality offshoot at DC Comics that offers a take on the DC Universe, but steeped in the modern world. I equate it to Marvel’s Ultimate line of comics, if that helps to shorthand it for you. This line of comics comes in the form of original hardcover trade paperbacks, as opposed to monthly magazines.
Although it takes place in modern times, writer Grant Morrison borrows heavily from Wonder Woman’s past to bring us his take on the amazing Amazon. A virtual return to her roots, if you will, with the purple ray technology and Kanga of Amazonia Island often referred to as Paradise Island. In the first tome, we learned Wonder Woman’s origin and how she came to man’s world. This time around, we get to see her more established in her role. Of course, she is a media darling and a controversial figure as one might expect from an Amazon warrior who came from a hidden island of Amazon Warriors. Living life as a teacher in man’s world, she is here to spread her message of peace and loving submission. Although not officially affiliated with the government, she does her best to help out when she can. She dons a burka during one such mission in The Middle East. I’m not sure if it’s embracing another culture or cultural appropriation, but it fell a little flat for me. You certainly wouldn’t have her dress as a Geisha if she had a mission in Japan.
Feminism is a big theme in this issue, as it should be given the social climate these days. There’s even a cameo by THE feminist, Gloria Steinem, along with cameos by Wonder creators George Perez and Jill Thompson. I’m sure there are more, and perhaps I’ll notice them in the next read. Paquette has promised me a cameo as an Uber Soldier in Volume 3. (I’m holding you to that!)
I’ve been a fan of Morrison’s writing ever since Doom Patrol, and Wonder Woman: Earth One is no exception. It’s a little campy and kooky for the casual reader but serves up enough action and intrigue for everyone to enjoy. Avoiding spoilers, I will tell you that Morrison offers an interesting take on a classic Wonder WOman villain as they try to pit man against Amazon for an all-out war. Psychological warfare is an underlying theme, as well, as Morrison explores issues of trust and societal roles.
There has been an Amazon running around since Volume One that just has to be Donna Troy, as she bears a physical likeness and a red jumpsuit that certainly plays homage to Wonder Girl’s costume. She has yet to speak or be addressed, though. Hopefully, she’ll get her due in Volume Three. She is often seen standing with an Amazon that I thought for sure to be Cassie Sandsmark but whom is addressed as Mala. And I know for sure I saw Artemis. The Amazons make for a great supporting cast. Diana’s complicated relationship with her mother Queen Hippolyta is particularly heart wrenching this time around. And her supporting cast of Steve Trevor and Etta Candy are solid.
I really like the tone of this series and think it would make for a great ongoing series. Morrison knows how to deliver a great Wonder Woman story without making it a great story starring Wonder Woman. Yanick Paquette’s art is amazing, as usual. I first discovered Paquette during his first run on Wonder Woman. He’s come along way since then. I have always admired his more romantic European style. While drawing pretty pictures, he never slacks on the heavy lifting with detailed backgrounds and intricate crowd seems. It seems like there is nothing that he can’t draw – and draw well to boot. (20-eye lace boots even!) His style has the grace and beauty of Adam Hughes with the gritty realness of Bryan Hitch. You can’t talk about the art without mentioning the beautiful colors of Nathan Faitbairn. Paquette’s longtime artistic collaborator is an amazing artist with a deft palette. His contribution to the atmosphere of Amazonia Island is stunning.
The bondage and submission theme of the first story is present but definitely more downplayed here. I think that’s a good thing, as it tends to be a little distracting to the greater good of the story. The penultimate chapter of WWEO ends on a cliffhanger, so now all we have to do is wait for Volume Two.
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