Wonder Woman #1 – Tom King, Writer; Daniel Sampere, Artist; Tomeu Morey, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: As soon as it announced, this became the biggest—and most controversial—launch of Dawn of DC, and now the first issue is finally here to review. Tom King has been one of DC’s most acclaimed and significant writers of the last few years, but with a big asterisk—ever since his divisive Batman run wrapped, all his books have taken place in their own corner, often out of continuity. But this Wonder Woman run, pitting Diana against the U.S. government as a solitary crime by one Amazon leads to all Amazons being scapegoated, firmly takes place in the current continuity and will turn Diana and all her allies into outlaws. This isn’t a breed of story—heroes vs. the government—that I’m a fan of, but this first issue indicates that King has a truly unique new take.
Narrated by a mysterious figure, from far in the future, detailing how they lost to Wonder Woman, it starts with a mysterious new Amazon named Emelie massacring a group of male patrons at a bar when they harass her. Things snowball quickly, and soon Amazons are not only outlawed, but being rounded up and deported no matter how long they’ve been here—with lethal force in some cases. And as Diana chooses to stay and fight, even renouncing her sword and returning to her vow of non-violence, her decision brings her into conflict with her allies—including both Steve Trevor and Nubia. But she’s up against a pair of the deadliest enemies we’ve seen her fight in some time.
The new villain The Sovereign, a seemingly ancient king who was at the core of Trinity’s story in the flash-forward, is compellingly creepy if very ambiguous. However, I felt he was overshadowed this issue by Sgt. Steel, the government’s sadistic strongman and a former superhero turned Amazon-hunter. The Sovereign is a very classic style of villain, right out of a fantasy novel. Sgt. Steel, however, is a much more relatable and chilling villain—the petty authority figure, armed with an unjust law and looking for some excuse, any excuse, to flex his power over life and death. We’ve seen this villain in all of our lives, some more close-up than others. This story is a hard read, brutally intense and painful in places as it evokes immigration roundups, police brutality, and kill squads. It’s too early to say how this book will fit in with the rest of the DCU, but it’s easy to see that this will be another King classic.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.