Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals

Written by George Perez, Len Wein, and Greg Potter
Penciled by George Perez
Inked by Bruce Patterson
192 pages, color
Published by DC Comics

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 15 years since George Perez (along with Len Wein and Greg Potter) revamped the Wonder Woman comic. Starting it over from scratch certainly had the potential to chase away existing readers while not picking up any new ones. What actually happened, though, was a series of comics helmed by Perez that are still talked about today as being the definitive modern interpretation of the character.

Paradise Island is where the Amazonian race lives. A tribe of mighty immortal women, they live together in harmony, away from the war of Man’s World. When an outsider comes to the island, though, it is only the beginning of a series of events that could foresee the end of the world. And so a champion is found, to travel off of the island and stop the mad schemes of one of the Gods himself. That champion is of course Princess Diana, whom the world shall know as Wonder Woman.

It’s fun watching Perez, Wein, and Potter take elements of the character of Wonder Woman and weave them into a larger, more cohesive story in Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals. This collection of the first seven issues of the new comic take just the right elements of Greek mythology and add in their own twists as to the origins of the Amazons and Wonder Woman herself. They take each step carefully, slowly moving Wonder Woman into the rest of the world and letting the culture shock and surprise be understandable as she discovers what the rest of the planet has done in the Amazons’s absence. At the same time, the threat of Ares’s plans for destruction forever looms overhead, one that also merges the ancient Greek character with modern ideas on how to go to war. It’s a strong updating, and one that most of all rang true for me in how Wonder Woman defeats Ares in the end. It’s not the normal “I’ll beat you up until you give in” sort of ending, and I think it’s very important because it sets Wonder Woman apart from most other superheroes. Is she incredibly strong? Of course. She still thinks through her problems, though, and if she can find a solution that doesn’t require violence she takes it. Now that’s a proper role model who still manages to be interesting and capture the imagination of a reader, something most superhero books seem to lack.

Perez’s art here is really nice, with a high level of detail without going overboard. Characters’s hair is lush and flowing, and clothing on regular, ordinary people has a nice level of realism. It’s nice to see just as much attention being given to the supporting cast as the main characters, and it’s easy to remember why Perez’s art is held in such high regard. He gives everyone a great sense of motion about them; characters zoom and dodge across the page with a real ease about them. Best of all, I really like Perez’s interpretations of creatures and characters of myth. Ares’s eyes being the only feature you can see from under his helmet have such a wonderful sense of menace about them, for instance, or how Deimos’s snake-hair seems to move like it has a mind of its own.

I’ve barely read any of Perez’s Wonder Woman comics, but now that I’ve read this first collection I want more, and lots of it. Fortunately DC’s already planning on printing the entire two-year stretch of Wonder Woman where he both wrote and penciled the book, because this is fascinating material for someone who’s never seen it before. Released in a time period when books like Watchmen was influencing most comic creators with its dark and gritty mood, it’s great to see such a breath of fresh air with its cheery and upbeat sensibility. Bring on the second volume!

Purchase Links: Amazon.com

1 comment to Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals

  • Ralph Argueta

    It is a long time coming that George Perez is acknowledged for his genius as an overall “director” of the cinematic pencil, not to mention a master conceptual designer in his creating the standard for late eighties comic books. To be compared only to George Byrne’s sensational revamping of Superman, Wonder Woman is the comic book series I still, as a 34 year-old professional artist, have collected and preserved as inspiration and resource for what real talent is. Any movie attempting to depict the serious mythological base for the Wonder Woman “epic” would need to understand: the Queen surrendering the entire amazon race to Heracles and the bullet deflecting bracelets which wonder woman wears to honor the slavery of her sisters when the male army imprisoned them, her golden lariot, a gift from the god Hephestus as all gifts of love beauty and flight were given to her, [no invisible planes here] all is explained in issue #1 whose cover is the most precise sample of superior artistic execution. PERFECT !Any movie worth making needs to get past the confusion of how to make a Wonder Woman film and follow the entire series through Challenge of the Gods issue #10, [which explains the Wonder Woman origin} whose fold-out cover is an illustration both dynamic and extremely well done. You can feel the investment George Perez had in his undertaking of the series. He always puts the character in the most humanly realistic and honorable positionso that treating Wonder Woman as a saturday night live skit would be insulting and a failure. Let’s hope any Jessica Biel efforts would dive so deep into a character unfamiliar with the commercial “world” we live in, secluded on an island of peace and love, that woman would be full of physical power and beauty, but alone and scared of what will happen in man’s world. She is an amazon, but she is not angry and combative like her amazon sisters. She is a fresh and untouched warrior of justice with flawless beauty. It’s that way.
    George Perez kicks ass basically