Thursday, July 4, 2013

Book Review: Wonder Woman: Odyssey Vol. 1 & 2 by J. Michael Straczynski

You know the best part about libraries? I mean other than the books? It's the people who work there.

Last time I was at the local library, I wandered over to the book cart and commented on the number of new graphic novels they had. Nancy, who was pushing said cart, immediately gave me a quick, enthusiastic tour of the shelves, and in the course of the tour, told me I must read the J. Michael Straczynski Wonder Woman: Odyssey volumes 1 & 2, both of which were, conveniently, available just then.

These aren't books I would have picked up on my own: Wonder Woman has never really quite caught my attention, but there's nothing like an enthusiastic recommendation from a fellow-book lover to get my attention, and, anyway, they were right there. Also, I mean, J. Michael Straczynski. That right there is a pretty good reason to pick something up.

I'm glad I did.

Wonder Woman: Odyssey Vol.1

This is Wonder Woman re-imagined: Most of the Amazons are dead, she's growing up in hiding--and she still wants to fight for justice for those around her.

She's young, earnest, energetic, and determined to learn everything she can both from her teachers and despite them, and she's trying to balance the divine interference in her life with the more mundane world in which she lives.

I like her.

Also--her costume is a 100% improvement over the swimsuit-thing (Yeah, I know. The swimsuit is iconic. I also don't like it!), but it still keeps the Wonder Woman "look"--the bracelets, the W's, the red, white, and blue. It just also happens to look like it might also be comfortable.

It moves along briskly, and Volume 1 ends on one heck of a cliffhanger.

Wonder Woman: Odyssey vol. 2

Sometimes, cliffhangers turn out to be unimportant and their resolution a bit of a disappointment. Not so this time! The story thunders along, gaining momentum, with the stakes getting higher and Wonder Woman getting both stronger and smarter.

By the end, Stracczynski blends his "new" Wonder Woman and her backstory back into the "old" Wonder Woman to pave the way for new, strong stories. It works, too! At least, I recognized all the raggle-taggle bits I've picked up along the way as I've read here and there, and I found them nicely tucked in to a workable tale that let the old stories stay true while also letting the new Wonder Woman live.

So hurray for libraries and the people who work there!

By the way: This is Part Two of "Books that Deserve Longer Reviews." Just in case you hadn't noticed. I'm sort of making up the lengths and book numbers per entry as I go along!


  1. My sister swears by Straczynski, she says he's one of her favorite comics writers of all time. So her endorsement plus yours is definitely enough to make me try this comic! (I also am not a Wonder Woman fan.) If only my library would get in more comics my life would be perfect. :p

    1. I'm not really very familiar with Straczynski's work on comics, but anyone who created Babylon 5 has my attention.