We have had many retelling of Wonder Woman's and Queen Hippolyta's origin stories over the years. However, there is over two and a half millennia between the two events, wouldn't it be interesting to tell a story during that massive period of time? It would seem like an easy thing to do, right? Just pick a time period and tell a compelling story with Amazon warriors and I should automatically love it. Turns out, it might be trickier than I thought.
The story starts as with some well known Amazon names. Hessia, who would later become Diana's mentor, is a general of a Themysciran expedition tasked with finding other immortal women in the world to bring back to Paradise Island. Along the way, they often intervene in the affairs of the mortal world. They right some wrongs or free the oppressed. It seems to stand at odds with Queen Hippolyta's dictates or what Themyscira stands for as an island separated from the mortal world; but the gods are often fickle and it isn't a general's place to question her orders. This extended junket has been successful and they have managed to acquire several new recruits who have pledged their lives to the Amazonian way of life and battle. Still, there is some disquiet in the ranks when some Scandinavian giants seemingly sent from Odin attack and abduct one of the Amazon's newest members.
The Fates arrive, an awful portent no matter the circumstances, and explain what must be done to a wary bunch Amazon's. Odin may bring about a "twilight" that even The Fates wouldn't survive. The Fates give Hessia a charm that will lead them toward Odin's lands and their captured comrade. They head north (in galleys) into the Norwegian Sea where a terrific storm buffets all their ships and causes them to sink. Many Amazons drown in the icy waters of the north, but more soon die as giants hurling spears start decimating Hessia's ranks. The story ends with little hope of survival for the Amazons.
I'm going to start on a high note. The art in this book is amazing. This is truly a gathering of masterful talent. Ryan Benjamin pencils are so detailed that I can almost feel the spit coming from Hessia's battle commands. Richard Friend's inks never leave a heavy line, and highlight Benjamin's skill. When Tony Washington adds the colors, this fantastical world comes alive. I would love to stare at this book for hours if it were not for a few problems i have with Kevin Grevioux's story.
The dialog as well as narrative can be a bit disjointed at times. Despite that, the character motivation is pretty well established, which is commendable. The main problem I have with this comic is that it is a "historical" story about the Amazons. Wonder Woman and the Amazons have had many ret-cons over the years... some I have loved like The Legend of Wonder Woman and some I haven't (Earth One Wonder Woman). The story can change, but it has to be grounded in history. It has to take place in a specific time or place.
So this is a "historical" comic in only the broadest sense of the term. It would be wrong for me to have an astronaut at the battle of Gettysburg. It's jarring to see. So when an author mentions an Amazon being a "samurai," I know it must be after 702 CE (we can ignore the female part of the equation, this is an Amazon book). However, another recruit was an "Aztec Queen" so we know it has to be between 1323 CE and 1521 CE (Cortes). Yet the bad guys introduced in this book are supposedly Vikings. Vikings operated 790 CE to 1066 CE.
Do you see what I mean? This is infuriating to anyone who has a concept of history.
Some would say I'm being overly critical. This is a comic book after all. Who wouldn't want to see Vikings fight Samurais and Jaguar Warriors? That sounds cool, right? Greek verses Norse pantheons equals great fun, right? But a better method of bringing these elements together could have been used. Magic. Time Travel. Deity intervention. Something other than ignoring thousands of years of human history and civilization.
To some this may be a minor thing keeping them from enjoying what otherwise a rather spledid book. For people like me, however, this is a more than just asking the audience to suspend belief: It's outright ignorance of the past or willful disregard history.
Does this mean you shouldn't buy this book? No. If you can get past what annoys me, you will probably have a great time reading it. Heck, I may buy the next book because the art is so good and I love pantheon battles. I just feel DC should care a bit more about historical facts in the age "alternative facts."
Rating: 6.5/10 "Friendship" Statues