“Wonder Woman,” the movie, is shattering box office records like, I dunno, glass ceilings. Which means a lot of new Wonderfans are going to be looking for some supplemental reading. But where to start?
Like the ancient myths of her Greco-Roman patrons, Wonder Woman’s oft-contradictory history is vast, and contains multitudes. Here, then, are five suggestions to take to the bookstore:
5. ‘Wonder Woman: Spirit of Truth’
This slim, oversized book is part of a series of introductory books to DC’s major heroes by Paul Dini (“Batman: The Animated Series”) and legendary painter Alex Ross. It’s a simple story, recounting a streamlined version of Diana’s origin, plus a few vignettes showing Wonder Woman’s relevance to the modern world, all rendered in luminous, painted art.
4. ‘JLA: A League of One’
A prophecy from the Oracle of Delphi predicts the death of the Justice League. Wonder Woman decides the only way to save the other superheroes is if she’s the only remaining member of the Justice League. Written and painted by Christopher Moeller (“Interview With the Vampire,” “Sheva’s War”) this beautiful graphic novel pits Wonder Woman against the other members of the Justice League — and a dragon! It’s an emotional tale that gets to the heart of who and what Diana is, while demonstrating how Wonder Woman would defeat every one of her teammates.
3. ‘Wonder Woman: The Hyketeia’
Bound by an ancient Greek rite, Wonder Woman must protect a young woman from Gotham City — a criminal who is sought by the Batman. Dark Knight battles Amazing Amazon physically and philosophically in this graphic novel by Greg Rucka and J.G. Jones.
2. ‘Wonder Woman: The True Amazon’
Is Princess Diana just a little too perfect for you? Good news — here’s a tale showing how bratty and selfish the daughter of an Amazon queen can be! Well, until she learns a few life lessons in this delightful graphic novel by writer/artist Jill Thompson.
1. ‘Wonder Woman: Gods And Mortals’
There are few revamps that have been as successful — or as necessary — as what writer/artist George Perez (abetted by writer Len Wein) achieved with Wonder Woman in 1987. Perez jettisoned a lot of the awful baggage that had built up around the Amazing Amazon through decades of mediocre or just plain terrible stories, relaunching the character afresh as a 20-something on her first journey to Man’s World. He emphasized the mythological aspects of the strip, returning the Amazons to their roots (and put them on Themyscira instead of Paradise Island), and setting up as their eternal foe the war god Ares (who had, until 1986, been referred to by his Roman name Mars). That armor you saw in the “Wonder Woman” movie? That’s Perez’s handiwork, as he raided ancient Greco-Roman culture for every aspect of the new Wonder Woman, from clothes to architecture to armament to philosophies.