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The Legend of Wonder Woman is the brilliant comic Wonder Woman deserves

The Legend of Wonder Woman.
The Legend of Wonder Woman.
DC Comics

The perpetual knock on Wonder Woman has been that her origins — which involve that magical lariat of truth, Amazon heritage, and Grecian weirdness — are too bizarre and too esoteric for a general audience to understand. In 2013, an exec at DC Comics called the character "tricky" because she doesn't have a single, clear backstory that everybody knows; this alleged comic book unapproachability is why her origins have been changed so many times, and a major factor in why it's taken so long for a Wonder Woman movie to be made.

Rating


4.5


Ray Dillon and Renae De Liz's comic book The Legend of Wonder Woman feels like the solution. A DC digital-first comic (meaning it starts out intended for online reading and is later published in print), The Legend of Wonder Woman begins with Diana's mythology-driven childhood on the island of Themyscira and charts her journey into becoming Wonder Woman.

To be clear, The Legend of Wonder Woman — like its digital-first sister comic Bombshells— isn't official DC canon. And perhaps that's why it leans into Diana's Greek mythology-driven roots with righteous enthusiasm. It's campy. The dialogue is heightened. It's dramatic.

The Legend of Wonder Woman. (DC Comics)

The Legend of Wonder Woman also maintains a sense of humanity when it comes to portraying the pressure of growing up as Queen Hippolyta's daughter. There's a certain tenderness in seeing Diana as a surly, frustrated kid, a feeling that evolves into admiration when you see her thrown into an unknown new world.

Through it all, The Legend of Wonder Woman boasts a well-designed mix of geekery and inclusivity that rewards both longtime fans of the character and Wonder Woman neophytes. And though it isn't canon, you'll wish it were, because it's a Wonder Woman story that's relatable.

The  Legend of Wonder Woman (DC Comics)

The Legend of Wonder Woman. (DC Comics)

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the comic is the way it reminds you of how hilarious and unapologetically political Wonder Woman can be. De Liz and Dillon use the setting of World War II and Diana's lack of understanding about life beyond the island of Themyscira to hilariously illustrate how women, including Diana herself, are constantly underestimated. The book is a celebration of feminism and women, but it doesn't feel like anyone is being punished to make a point.

Indeed, De Liz and Dillon are more interested in telling the story of a girl growing up than a story of brawls (that isn't to say that there isn't action, because there's plenty of action) — a noble goal, given the long history of American pop culture and entertainment not valuing the stories of young women. (For a recent example, see the backlash to the film Brooklyn.) They've created a beautiful one at that.

Just like its hero, there's a kindness to The Legend of Wonder Woman that extends beyond its pages. It's a charming and disarming read. And De Liz and Dillon have really given Wonder Woman the comic she deserves.