Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Box Set ペーパーバック – 2016/11/15
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The most recognizable superheroine of all time, Wonder Woman has been an essential part of the DC Universe and an icon for female empowerment for more than 75 years.
Armed with her lasso of truth and her bullet-stopping bracelets, the Amazon Princess journeys into Man’s World again and again, spreading her mission of peace and goodwill and fiercely battling injustice where she finds it. She’s a princess, a warrior and an ambassador. Beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, stronger than Hercules, swifter than Mercury…she is Wonder Woman!
WONDER WOMAN: A CELEBRATION OF 75 YEARS collects more than 400 pages of the iconic heroine’s best stories, from her first appearance by William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter, to her mod ’60s redesign by Denny O’Neil and Mike Sekowsky, to her present-day adventures by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang. Other legendary talents featured include George Pérez, Darwyn Cooke, Robert Kanigher, Gene Colan, Phil Jimenez, Mike Deodato, Greg Rucka, Gail Simone and more.
PRAISE FOR WONDER WOMAN VOL. 1: BLOOD:
"Expect a lot more Wonder Woman fans after a few issues of this book." --USA Today
"This is clear storytelling at its best....It's an intriguing concept and easy to grasp. The reader doesn't need to know that much about Wonder Woman because she is, well, Wonder Woman." --The New York Times
"Azzarello's take on Wonder Woman is doing, er, wonders for the character. Showcasing her bad-ass warrior side as well as a sense of humor that's been sorely lacking in recent years, Azzarello is also rebuilding the mythology of Wonder Woman." --Maxim
"Azzarello is crafting a highly-intelligent, and surprisingly gory, affair that's drenched in Greek mythology and godly mischief. And if that's not enough, artist Cliff Chiang simply kills it on every panel he touches. Put your presumptions aside because this is actually a Wonder Woman book worth reading." --Complex Magazine
I find it a little odd that Wonder Woman's 75th Anniversary box set only includes stories from the last 30 years. Sure, the stories in this box set are great, and certainly worth a read. But why wouldn't they including anything from the Golden Age or Silver Age? I know people have a misconception that there were no good Wonder Woman stories before 1987, but that's just false. Regardless of someone's opinion of that fact, I believe that if you're going to celebrate 75 years of Wonder Woman, you should celebrate 75 years, not 30 years.
As for the item itself, it's a really great collection, especially for someone who isn't well versed in Wonder Woman. Included in this box set are the first volumes of four very popular and accessible runs on Wonder Woman. All four paperback books feature new covers (based on art from the previous releases of the books) styled in the same motif as the outer box. The outer box is a fairly thick box, honestly thicker than I was expecting. It's really nice.
The first volume in this set is writer/artist George Perez's "Gods and Mortals," collecting Wonder Woman v2 issues #01-07 from 1987. Perez's run, and especially this first volume, set the stage for everything Diana would become in the decades following. Perez sets up the origin story of the Amazons, Diana, her supporting cast, the Gods and Goddesses of Olympus, and Diana's battle to save Man's World and Themyscira alike. THIS is the place to start if you've never read Wonder Woman before. I find that people who are especially used to modern (post-2000) comics often find this book hard to get through. It is a wordy tome, and there's a lot of exposition. Personally, I think the level of exposition helps add to the epic feel of the story arc, making it feel more like a Greek mythological epic than a comic book. Certainly worth a read.
The second book included here is writer Greg Rucka and artist Drew Johnson's "Down to Earth," collecting Wonder Woman v2 issues #195-200 from 2003-2004. This is the first volume of Greg Rucka's original turn as writer on Wonder Woman. Rucka is generally regarded as one of the best Wonder Woman writers from the last 30 years. He seemed to have an understanding of the character that few writers before him aside from Perez seemed to exhibit. Diana, the ambassador, releases a book of essays and and speeches that reinforce her personal world view. But she's met with both praise and resistance. It's a great start to a fantastic run on Wonder Woman, and well worth reading.
The third book is writer Gail Simone and artist Terry Dodson's "The Circle," which collects Wonder Woman v3 issues #14-19 from 2008. Gail Simone's run tended to alternate between 4 issue story arcs and 2 issue story arcs, so this book actually presents her first two story arcs on Wonder Woman, The Circle and Expatriate. The Circle introduces a dark part of Diana's own history, and sets up some of the most interesting and compelling antagonists Diana had faced in years. Expatriate features Diana fighting to save the Khund from a Green Lantern. Simone is yet another writer who just seems to get Diana. Diana here is compassionate and caring, but strong and cunning. She's pulled in many directions, but always follows her heart. She extends her hand before she raises her fist.
The final book in this collection is writer Brian Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang's "Blood," collecting Wonder Woman v4 issues #01-06 from 2011-2012. This is the first volume of Wonder Woman's New 52 series after DC rebooted their entire universe. Azzarello and Chiang's take on the book is very different from previous runs. While Diana, at heart, is the same character she's always been (aside from a major change to her origin), we see a different side of the world she inhabits and the Gods and Goddesses that treat her as a plaything. This run was both controversial and beloved. This was a drastic change for Diana. Personally, I enjoyed it. Azzarello's run is not my favorite run (by a long shot), but he crafted a dark epic worth reading.
Overall, this is a fantastic collection, especially for a new reader. My only real complaint is that there's nothing earlier than 1987 in these books. Why wouldn't DC include a reprinted copy of The Wonder Woman Chronicles Vol. 1, which features her original 1941 origins? I understand why the four books that were chosen are in this set. But, in order for this to truly be a celebration of 75 years, they should have included the first book of William Moulton Marston's original run on the book.
As I write this review, it is the opening weekend for the Wonder Woman (2017) movie. I mention this because it’s due to my enjoyment of the many Marvel and DC movies, that at the end of 2016 I decided to start reading actual comic books for the first time in my life. Specifically, in anticipation the Gal Gadot led film, I wanted to learn more about the Wonder Woman character as she was originally portrayed in the comic books. I had no idea Wonder Woman has been around for 75 years.
This boxed set is one of the first comic book purchases I made. I selected it because it looked like it would provide a good overview of the character. The four volumes in this set represent what is generally considered--presumably by those who know a lot about Wonder Woman--to be examples of some of the best WW work that has been produced since the Bronze Age, starting with the comprehensive George Perez reboot that followed in the footsteps of the mid-1980s *Crisis on Infinite Earths* crossover event. IMHO, the Perez era (which launched WW VOLUME 2) is the seminal post-Golden Age run.
Speaking of the Golden Age, in regard to the other three volumes (each of which has it merits and distinctions), it is important to be aware that these are all what might be considered “modern era” runs. This boxed set *marks the occasion* of the 75th Anniversary of the Amazon Princess. It is not intended to be an overview of DC’s entire seventy-five year Wonder Woman run. Be aware there is nothing in this set from the Golden, Silver or Bronze ages, and nothing from the 1990s.
In regard to the Simone, Rucka and Azzarello volumes (and the other writers and illustrators who worked with them), all three runs are considered to be significant (in regard to the character’s history and evolution), and each one can make a great starting point for delving further into WW comic books. The Greg Rucka run is notable for concluding WW VOLUME 2 at issues #218-226 (“Mission’s End”), which coincided with the historic *Countdown to.../Infinite Crisis/52* crossover event and reboot. The Gail Simone run is one of the bright spots in the otherwise mostly problematic (and short lived) WW VOLUME 3 run (which is also notable as one of the “One Year Later” reboots that followed 52). The Brian Azzarello “era” (WW VOLUME 4) is notable for being one of the more successful *New 52* reboots. You might not like all the writing or all the artwork represented in these WW runs, but anyone who is new to Wonder Woman (as I was) will undoubtedly find something here to like.
As for the publication quality of this boxed set: if you are a long time fan of Wonder Woman and might be considering adding this to your existing collection, you may appreciate knowing that these books are not printed on the slick paper that seems to be very common on collected volumes. Given the list price, this might be surprising. I didn’t pay list price (who would on Amazon?), and despite the slightly lower grade paper, the books appear to have good quality binding. The container makes a nice sleeve for the set. Considering the price I did pay, and the material that is collected, overall I’m very happy with this collection.