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Classic Wonder Woman: The True Amazon

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Like the proverbial Phoenix itself, ‘Classic Wonder Woman’ returns, regenerated and reinvigorated after its semi-conclusive epilogue last episode. We reached our objective denouement by both completing our original purpose; a chronicle of Wonder Woman comic-book covers, charting her heroic history from the 1940’s through to modern day, whilst counting down to her 75th anniversary. Plus we managed to surface from the Ancient Amazon Archives, from whence we recounted these great tales of Herculean proportion, in fact the trek through the archives formed an epic tale all its own (why not visit the archives yourselves, fellow fans, and relive that Olympian Odyssey.)

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But from any ending a beginning can be wrought, reborn like the aforementioned Phoenix, arising from the ashes of it’s predecessor in Greek mythology, just like Diana has done so many times in her very own munificently multifaceted mythos. 

And so we begin a new chapter in the ongoing chronicles of Wonder Woman, and what better place to start than with an original take on Diana’s childhood and subsequent upbringing on the secluded tranquil paradise island known as Themyscira, home of the legendary Amazons.

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Jill Thompson is an Eisner award winning writer and illustrator who has worked in the industry for nigh on 30 years. She has collaborated on titles such as Sandman alongside the inimitable Neil Gaiman, and in the eighties worked with the great George Perez, drawing Wonder Woman. Perez is highly regarded for his classic run on Wonder Woman in the 80’s and 90’s, revitalising the character for a modern audience. Thompson’s spouse is comic book writer Brian Azzarello, who was responsible for the highly acclaimed Wonder Woman run in 2011 after Diana was relaunched in DC Comics’ New-52 reboot.

Almost three decades later Thompson has returned to the venerable paradise island to retell the tale of Wonder Woman from a fresh and even more mythical perspective with ‘Wonder Woman: The True Amazon’ 

Thompson begins her story before the birth of Diana, back when the Amazons fought a war against nine armies led by Heracles and his father Zeus, who had disguised himself in a bid to seduce the Amazon Queen, Hippolyta. Zeus’ wife Hera discovered her godly consort’s plan and, with the help of Poseidon, rescued the Amazons and delivered them to a secret island, where they thrived and prospered as immortals untouched by the outside world for millennia.

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Hippolyta though longed for a child of her own, she would fashion a baby out of sand and clay and would nightly sing to it a sad and sorrow filled song, that eventually reached the ears of Olympus, the Gods upon hearing the melancholic strain cried tears of gold and silver that fell onto Themyscira, breathing life into the childlike sculpture.

And thus Diana was born, reckless and at times arrogant due to her being not only the sole child on the isle of the Amazons, but also one gifted with superhuman powers by the Gods of Olympus. It’s this supercilious and condescending attitude that takes centre stage in Thompson’s retelling of Diana’s childhood, spoilt from birth and treated as if she can do no wrong, Diana begins to believe that she actually is better than all else around her, a literal gift from the gods. That is until she meets Aletha, a stable girl who isn’t overawed by Diana like all the others, her friendship cannot be attained through the usual methods of boasting, and on occasion bullying which causes Diana, initially, to change her imperious attitude, in a bid to procure this seemingly unattainable Amazon’s affections, yet an even greater upset lies in her not too distant future. 

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‘Wonder Woman: The True Amazon’ is an astonishing piece of work from Jill Thompson, an alluring yet at times provocative take on the world’s first female Superhero. The story has a level of true emotional depth oft unfound in certain Superhero comics. The retelling may be seen as divisive by some, but Thompson adds a level of humanity to Diana that elegantly supersedes her demi-god status, which ultimately allows the story a much more poignant and emotive accessibility. Of course we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Thompson’s astounding artwork that adorns the pages of her groundbreaking graphic novel. Breathtaking is a word that fits her visual style perfectly, each and every panel is a fully hand painted watercolour by Thompson, the book really stands out when compared to it’s modern counterparts. The True Amazon is truly a work of art, and cannot come more highly recommended.

Join us again next time for more ‘Classic Wonder Woman’ my affable Amazonian associates!

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Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Vol 4) #1 – The New 52 Years

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Our Olympian Odyssey through the ancient Amazon archives continues expeditiously as we leave behind the Herculean Amphitheatre of knowledge we surreptitiously unearthed in our previous instalment, and guide ourselves through a small vestibule daedally draped in silken banners that portray the subjugation and eventual emancipation of the deific Amazons from their ancient adversary Hercules.

Upon closer inspection of the various Vexillum we notice one of them softly swaying back and forth, possessed of a zephyr of air from an unknown source. Pushing aside the intricate pennant we discover a set of majestic marble steps that lead upwards, twisting and turning erratically, triumphantly obscuring our vision of their eventual end.

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After what feels like an eternity of elevation our perpetual pace comes to cessation as we find our progress halted by a lavishly engraved bronze Mycenaean style Lion Gate. Incisively running our fingers across a prominent carving of a Lioness, we discover a hasp ingeniously masquerading as one of it’s intricate incisors. Pulling the hasp towards us causes the Lion Gate to slowly open… instantly we move our hands to shield our eyes as blinding sunlight pores in through the now unlatched gateway, after months spent scouring the archives under scant torchlight, the suddenness of the solar rays scorch our eyes.

With the colossal Amazon archives now behind us, does this mark the end of our epic odyssey? or is it symbolic of a new beginning for Wonder Woman? these questions and more can only be answered through… ‘Classic Wonder Woman’  Precinct1313’s comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of Diana of Themyscira.

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A new day does indeed dawn on the paradise island known as Themyscira, as our Hellenic Herald embraces a new origin story, and siblings of Godlike stature. In September 2011, DC Comics relaunched it’s entire line of comic books, with the elaborate event being named ‘The New 52’  fifty two titles each following a classic DC character. Diana was no longer birthed from clay, moulded by her mother Queen Hippolyta, and given life by a pantheon of Greek Gods, but instead is the demi-goddess daughter of Zeus himself. Her original origin is revealed to be nothing more than an elaborate cover story to protect her from the preconceived wrath of Zeus‘ wife Hera.

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DC brought on board sensational scribe Brian Azzarello to pen her ongoing tales of fantastic fiction, and astounding artist Cliff Chiang to bring her virtual soul to life. Together they succeeded in producing one of the most celebrated runs in Wonder Woman‘s long and varied history.

Join us again next time for more ‘Classic Wonder Woman’ my accomplished Amazonian associates!

New Comics Spotlight: Wonder Woman Rebirth #1

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DC Comics’ recent relaunch of their Superhero comic books through ‘Rebirth‘ returned the DC Universe to a time prior to the ‘Flashpoint’ storyline, but still incorporated the continuity and consequences of much of the prior ‘New 52’ reboot. The main architect of Rebirth, superstar writer Geoff Johns, described the relaunch as “Re-laying the groundwork for DC’s future whilst also celebrating its past and present. It’s not about throwing anything away, in fact it’s quite the opposite.”

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Each of DC’s major heroes are receiving a one shot comic that precedes the relaunch of their monthly titles (in most cases now twice monthly) back to issue issue #1 (the only deviation from this are Action Comics and Detective Comics which will return to their original numbering that were prior to the New 52 reboot.)

Of course, of all the one shot titles available the one that I was most looking forward to was Wonder Woman Rebirth, and thankfully the one off special did not disappoint, in fact it was everything I had hoped for, and more.

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The Minotaur is no match for the mighty Amazon

Comic book scribe extraordinaire Greg Rucka returns once more to bring his inimitable writing style to the amazing Amazon’s amphitheatrical adventures. Rucka’s previous run on Wonder Woman ended in 2006 and was the recipient of an Eisner Award for best writer. Hailed as one of the foremost authors of the Themysciran Princess, Rucka was a fan favourite choice to pen her ongoing escapades.

WW Rebirth finds Diana in a dilemma in that she is no longer able to distinguish reality and falsehood when it pertains to her past. Is she the daughter of Zeus, or was she created from clay by her mother Queen Hippolyta and then given life by a pantheon of Greek Gods. These questions and more will be asked by the Amazon herald as she explores her history, searching for the true reason behind her existence.

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Emblematic of Diana’s move away from the New 52 storylines are reflected in the differing art styles encompassed in the comic, with the first two thirds of the issue illustrated by Matthew Clark whose style reflects the earlier incarnations, but when Diana takes a major turn in the book, Liam Sharp takes over the artistic duties with a complete departure to Clark’s art, his technique reflects the metaphorical change in the story beautifully as Diana also sheds her New 52 costume for an outfit that resembles rather closely Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman costume from the recent Batman v Superman movie.

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Liam Sharp’s visuals are tremendous throughout

Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp and Matthew Clark create a bold new direction for the continuing exploits of Wonder Woman, fantastic writing, sublime artwork from Sharp and an intriguing new start to the chronicles of the world’s most beloved Superheroine.

Precinct1313 Rating: 5 Golden Girdles Of Gaea Out Of 5.

Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Vol 2) #213

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The ancient Amazon archives reveal their deepest secrets to the outside world once more, as we continue on our journey to the 75th anniversary of Diana Prince. “Classic Wonder Woman” this week presents; Wonder Woman (volume 2) #213. Written by: Greg Rucka. Cover art by: J.G Jones. Interior art by: James Raiz. Released April 2005.

This week’s illuminating issue is titled “Counting Coup” and is part two of a thrilling tale that sees Olympus Gods, Zeus and Athena clash. With Diana enmeshed in the conflict she finds she must face the threat of Zeus’ bodyguard, the one hundred armed, fifty headed beast known as Briareos.

Another stunning issue from the awesome Greg Rucka, with an absolutely sublime cover illustrated by the talented J.G Jones. My favourite tales of the Amazing Amazon are always the ones that deal with the Olympic Gods and Greek mythology, and Rucka’s remarkable run on Wonder Woman wrought many great mythological narratives.

Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my astounding Amazonian associates!

Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Vol 2) #150

Copyright: DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

The antediluvian Amazon archives opens its ancient gateway once again for another instalment of “Classic Wonder Woman” Precinct1313’s weekly comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of Diana of Themyscira. This week we present to you; Wonder Woman (volume 2) #150. Written by: Eric Luke. Cover art by: Adam Hughes. Interior art by: Matthew Clark. Released in November 1999.

This weeks episode heralds yet another stunning illustration from the astonishing Adam Hughes, this is actually my second favourite WW cover of all time (due to this classic Bolland cover being my overall fave.) And like the Bolland cover, Adam Hughes artwork was so popular amongst the fans that it was turned into a rather marvellous statue, part of DC’s extremely popular Covergirls series of sculpts.

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This oversized anniversary issue is titled “Godwar: Conquest” and finds our titular heroine and her council of war, Zeus, Rama and Hanuman preparing battle plans to confront the nefarious forces of Kronos (Cronus) as he and his chosen pantheon assault the gates of heaven. As Kronos puts angels to the sword, it is up to Wonder Woman and her team of Greek and Hindu gods to stop the slaughter, and put to an end Kronos‘ plan of deadly ascension.

Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my admirable Amazonian associates! 

Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Vol 2) #145

Copyright: DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Our footsteps echo through the halls of the ancient Amazon archives as we retrieve another classic tome, and continue our weekly comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of the amazing Amazon. This weeks instalment presents you with; Wonder Woman (volume 2) #145. Written by: Eric Luke. Cover art by: Adam Hughes. Interior art by: Matthew Clark. Released in June 1999.

The terrific tale secreted behind the astonishing Adam Hughes cover is titled “Devastation 3: Death Begun”, continuing the tale of Diana‘s new and deadly foe, Devastation, with her origin story.  Last episode we recounted the tale of Titan Kronos (Cronus) and his devilish predilection for swallowing his children to prevent any from usurping his position of power. Although Zeus managed to free most of his siblings from their gastroscopic fate, unknown to him, Kronos still had trapped, earlier unknown Gods, Oblivion, Disdain, Arch, Harrier and Slaughter.

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Centuries later, Kronos released his remaining children, who became his own personal pantheon, through whom he would use to destroy other Gods on his attempted ascension to ultimate power. 

Though there stood one major obstacle in his ignoble quest for power, Olympus’ champion; Wonder Woman. Kronos devised a scheme to create a dark mirror image of the ultimate Amazon, like Diana herself, created from Themysciran clay. Once formed Kronos breathed life unto the graven image and named her Deva. And thus Devastation was born, possessing the same powers and abilities as her Olympian counterpart, but with diabolical and deadly twists, and none of the pathos or compassion of her Themysciran sister.

Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my affable Amazonian associates!

Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Vol 2) #139

Copyright: DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Raise your swords and ready your shields as we march into yet another instalment of “Classic Wonder Woman” Precinct1313’s weekly comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of the ultimate Amazon warrior. This week we return from the depths of the ancient Amazon archives with – Wonder Woman (volume 2) #139. Written by Eric Luke. Illustrated by Yanick Paquette. With cover art by the astonishing Adam Hughes. Released in December 1998.

The tantalising tale secreted behind this superlatives Hughes’ cover is titled “Gods and Monsters,” and finds our titular heroine faced with the difficult choice of either, continued immortality, or a mortal life as the chosen guardian of Earth. Whilst Diana ponders the Olympus rendered request, she also takes the time to reaffirm her former bond with Amazon sister Artemis. This empyrean issue contains a pantheon of Olympians including, Zeus, Hestia, and primary creator of the AmazonsHera.

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Hera and Hippolyta

Olympian Queen  Hera, is the Goddess of marriage and women and wife of Zeus, King of the Greek Gods. She is the mother to many of the Olympian Gods and Goddesses including Hephaestus and Ares, and along with Athena, Aphrodite, Hestia, and Demeter, is also the surrogate mother of the entire Amazon race. In Wonder Woman‘s original origin story, Hera was key to the Amazing Amazon‘s birth after directing a distraught Hippolyta, who longed for a child, to fashion out of clay a baby girl, which was then brought to life by Hera and her divine brothers and sisters.

Queen Hippolyta prepares to confront an angered Hera

Queen Hippolyta prepares to confront an angered Hera

Legends tell that Hera was one of six siblings born unto the Titan Rhea, and her consort Kronos. A prophecy from Gaia foretold that ultimately Kronos would be usurped by one of his children, taking steps to prevent this ever happening, the colossal Kronos devoured his children at birth, Hera, Hestia, Hades, Demeter, and Poseidon all shared in this fate. But his wife Rhea, angered by her husband’s treatment of their children and pregnant once more, conceived her sixth child Zeus in secret with the help of Gaia. Zeus stayed hidden from Kronos until adulthood when he confronted his father, and using an emetic given to him by Gaia, forced Kronos to regurgitate his siblings. Zeus went on to become King of Olympus and Hera eventually his Queen.

Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my articulate Amazonian associates!

Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Vol 2) #124

Copyright: DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

The far flung, exotic shores of Themyscira bid us once again my Amazon loving affiliates, as we continue our  weekly comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of Wonder Woman. This week we emerge from the depths of the Amazon archives with;  Wonder Woman (Volume 2) #124. Written and illustrated by John Byrne, with cover art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. Released in August 1997.

This weeks tantalising tale is titled “All My Sins Remembered” and follows Diana and Artemis as they continue their descent into Hell to confront the demonic Neron, it is here that the amazing Amazon will face her greatest challenge and her ultimate tragedy. This issue also presents us with two generations of Diana’s celebrated consort Wonder Girl, Donna Troy whose origin we covered in an earlier episode, and the most recent and current holder of the title, Cassandra Sandsmark.

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Wonder Girl – Cassie Sandsmark

Cassie was created by John Byrne in 1996, and made her first appearance in Wonder Woman (volume 2) #105. She was first introduced as the daughter of archaeologist Helena Sandsmark, who discovered magical artifacts that bestowed super powers to her daughter, which she subsequently used to fight crime as the new Wonder Girl. It was later revealed to her that she was in fact a demi-goddess and the daughter of Zeus himself.

In 2011, DC relaunched their universe as the “New 52” to re-establish a new continuity for their characters, essentially a massive reboot with many characters having their back-stories retold and in some cases changed entirely. With Wonder Woman’s origin completely revised so that she became the daughter of Zeus, Cassie also underwent a complete revision of her roots. Re-introduced in the pages of Teen Titans as a super powered thief with demonic infused bracelets, she is inducted into the team of teens by Batman’s ex-protege, Red Robin.  It is later revealed that she is the niece of Wonder Woman and the daughter of Lennox Sandsmark, Diana’s half brother.

Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my astounding Amazonian associates!

Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Volume 2) #29

Copyright-DC Comics

Copyright-DC Comics

Welcome back, to another instalment of; Classic Wonder Woman, Precinct1313’s weekly comic-cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of the amazing Amazon. This week we present you with Wonder Woman #29, written by George Perez, with cover and interior art by Chris Marrinan and George Perez. Released in April 1989.

This titanic tale is titled “Bloodvine” and finds Diana seemingly poisoned by Cheetah’s loyal man-servant Chuma. As she lays paralysed at his feet, Chuma regales Wonder Woman with the tale of his mistress’s origin. As Chuma comes to the end of his story Wonder Woman leaps forward, she had faked the symptoms of being poisoned in order to bide her time. With Chuma secured, Diana flies off in search of Cheetah. Arriving at a location in Egypt, Diana is suddenly surrounded by several female warriors who shockingly appear to be of Amazon origin!

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The fabled Amazons of Bana-Mighdall are a splinter group of dissenting Amazons that broke away from their Themysciran sisters over three thousand years ago. Led by Antiope, long lost sister of Hippolyta, these wayward Amazon warriors renounced the Gods of Olympus so that they could seek revenge on Heracles and the men who had attempted to subjugate and vanquish their race.

After the unfortunate death of their Queen Antiope, the tribe of Amazons settled in the deserts of Egypt, where they founded the city of “Bana-Mighdall”. Here they remained, secreted for thousands of years, becoming an increasingly intemperate and brutal race of violent mercenaries. Eventually they were transported to Themyscira by Witch-Goddess Circe, where they at first waged a brutal war against their once close kin, but were finally intergrated back into Themysciran society through the will of Zeus himself.

Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my astounding Amazonian associates!

Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Volume 2) #1

(Copyright-DC Comics)

(Copyright-DC Comics)

Welcome back once more friends of Themyscira, to another instalment of  Classic Wonder Woman, Precinct1313’s weekly comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of the amazing Amazon. The tantalising tale hidden behind this weeks captivating cover is titled “The Princess And The Power” released in February 1987, written by George Perez and Greg Potter, with cover and interior art by George Perez and Bruce Patterson.

It’s been a year since the last publication of a Wonder Woman solo comic, ending her titanic run on volume one and following on from the major reboot of the DC Universe in the “Crisis On Infinite Earths” saga, Diana returns once more in volume two. 

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This classic comic sports an awesome George Perez wraparound cover that depicts the defeat and subjugation of the Amazon warrior race by Zeus’ son Heracles, who is aided and abetted by God of War, Ares.

With a brand new first issue comes a reworking of Wonder Woman and her sister Amazon’s backstory. A convocation of Greek Gods form in Zeus’ palace on Mount Olympus, where Artemis, Goddess of the hunt petitions Zeus to create a race of warrior women to lead mankind back once again, to the faithful worship of the Greek Gods. Zeus rejects the idea, and Artemis approaches Zeus’ wife Hera in private to get her blessing for the venture. With Hera’s support, Artemis gathers together Gods who are sensitive to her cause which include, Hermes, Demeter, Aphrodite, Athena and Hestia.

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Together these gregarious Greek Gods cross the famed River Styx and enter the Cavern of Souls (also known as the Womb of Gaea, the Earth Mother) and extract the souls of women who have died at the hands of man throughout the generations, and reincarnate them as Amazon warriors. One soul however is left in the cavern, and Athena professes that this one has a special destiny, but her time is yet to come. This soul will eventually become Diana, moulded out of clay on the shores of Themyscira by her mother Queen Hippolyta, and given life, once more by the pantheon of Greek Gods.

Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my astute Amazonian associates!

Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman #149

(DC Comics, 1941-2015)

(DC Comics, 1941-2015)

Welcome once more friends, to our ongoing classic comic-cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of the world’s first and most important female superhero. This week we bring you Wonder Woman #149, released in October 1964, written by Robert Kanigher, with cover and interior art by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Within the pages of this amazing amazon archive, you will encounter the classic, The Last Days Of The Amazons, recounting the tale of Queen Hippolyta’s lost love and her call to the goddess Athena to help her fashion a statue in his image. But when the statue inexplicably is brought to life, the presence of man on Themyscira threatens the downfall of the island.

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This issue takes place mainly on the paradise island of Themyscira, which is actually the second home of the Amazons. Themyscira originally was the city-state in ancient Greece founded by the Amazons themselves, ruled over by sisters Hippolyta and Antiope. After being betrayed by Gods, Ares and Heracles, the Amazons moved to a remote island and rebuilt their culture away from the prying eyes of man and under the protection of Zeus himself. The Amazons, separate from the modern world lived in a state of harmony with their surroundings, training themselves for centuries as warriors and artisans.

Join us again in a weeks time for another classic WW cover, my affable amazonian associates!