A Feast For the Senses: Wonder Woman Historia Book One

Jan 4, 2022
Wonder Woman Historia #1:The Amazons

"We have had enough of men…not mankind. MEN."

If that line doesn't grab you by the proverbials... then perhaps you might be an Amazon.

The Greek Goddesses are mad. Their appeal to Zeus and their brother gods falls on deaf ears, and so they take matters into their own hands. Each sacrificing a part of themselves, they journey to literal Hell and back to give birth to an avenging force of warriors... The Amazons.

Every female figure in Historia speaks with a voice that acknowledges the suffering of women before them. George Pérez once imagined the Amazons reborn from the souls of women scorned, abused, victims of violence. Historia takes this idea and births a set of 30 warriors formed from each of the six goddesses' portions. We are introduced to each tribe, their sects, patron Goddess and their Queens, with plenty of time ahead to get to know them before we see them under the rule of Hippolyta.

I applaud the allusion to the unhappy marriage between Zeus and Hera, where he seems to remember her fondly, as one would a dear old plaything, while she is conflicted between fear, loathing, and traditionalism. It's a nice change from the old lore where Zeus gets to stick it to whoever and whatever he wants while his wife must turn her many eyes the other way. He makes the reader squirm, from his front-and-centre bulge to his calling the women ‘birds’ and ‘girls’ as if he’s several millennia behind the times. Nobody seems to understand Hera: perhaps not even her sister goddesses. She is a mystery I can't wait to watch unfold.

WW Historia the goddesses and first six Amazons

I cannot praise Jimenez's artwork highly enough, and colourists Hi-Fi Design, Arif Prianto and Romulo Fajardo Jr., for making this a treat that rewards a re-read. Every page is an absolute explosion of colour and detail. Each Amazon and each deity is surrounded by elements of deep lore, from battle depictions moulded into their armour to sacred flora and fauna within scenes or outfits - though don't be put off: you won't need a bachelor's in classical Greek to appreciate each character. There are some inventive, non-traditional depictions: Hecate, the three-faced goddess, is three women fused together in a visceral, spidery nightmare. Aphrodite is sensual, voluptuous and motherly. Athena, known for her stoic beauty, is a grave floating mask atop a statue. And of course along the way we meet Hippolyta, a mere mortal this time, and see the journey that crosses her path and that of the Amazons.

WW Historia Hippolyta

Kelly Sue DeConnick doesn’t see fit to crowd the page with words, and lets the sumptuous art do the talking for her, yet there are a few lines that cut right to the bone. Perhaps the most striking marriage of her craft with that of the artists is the dedication to showing and explaining the patriarchal society’s treatment of 'non-men', depicted in traditional Greek fresca vases. The non-males are redded out like murder victims. Just when your eyes are becoming desensitised to the violence, you turn the page to see a hanging hall of horrors.

This marks the first of three volumes leading right up to Steve Trevor’s appearance, so no doubt we will be seeing more of the scheming goddesses, fearless Hippolyta and her tribes, and of course Diana herself. I understand the torch will be passed over to Gene Ha and Nicola Scott, and I look forward to whichever direction they will take.

Devour this book. It is a feast for the senses.

WONDER WOMAN HISTORIA BOOK ONE: THE AMAZONS
Kelly Sue DeConnick, Phil Jimenez, Hi-Fi Design, Arif Prianto, Romulo Fajardo Jr.
DC $7.99 (30/11/2021)

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