Wonder Woman: Warbringer: The Graphic Novel by Leigh Bardugo, Louise Simonson and Kit Seaton
|Wonder Woman: Warbringer: The Graphic Novel by Leigh Bardugo, Louise Simonson and Kit Seaton|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: This proves to be quite a heavy adventure for Diana Prince, where the young adult audience might have wished for something a little sprightlier. You can't deny its melding of original plot and old myth is distinctive, however.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 190||Date: January 2020|
|Publisher: DC Ink|
|External links: Author's website|
Diana, being unique on her island, is the victim of a lot of taunts, and claims of nepotism. It's only her unique status, and her mother being Queen, that has her with any standing at all, her naysayers declare – even though she has clearly fought to be a strong young woman. Perhaps too strong for the island, however – for every Wonder Woman origin story has her quickly leaving home for the World of Men, and this Diana is the heroine of yet another Wonder Woman origin story. A shipwreck disturbs her leading performance in a running race, but the survivor she drags from the waters is only going to disturb a lot more...
Although I have never read the prose original, this struck me as a worthy novel to adapt into graphic form for this teen-friendly imprint of DC's. We get the novelty of a female being the instigator of the plot, and not the bloke Diana/WW usually ends up changing her life for. We get a very successful weaving of this world, with its duplicitous humans and society, and Diana's old one, with the many Greek deities that keep cropping up. But there is always a case to be said for books that are not just 'worthy' but actually entertaining.
Now, don't get me wrong. This does entertain. It brought something new to the whole early days of the origin that I'd either forgotten or that had never featured in other books. It threw a whole curve-ball a third of the way in that surprised me, which allowed for a quite breathless montage of what Diana finds in the outside world. There is a lot going for it here. But at the same time there is too much that is to its detriment to be glossed over. It struggles when lumbered with switching into the first person approach to give us the internal voice of multiple characters, and some thought bubbles almost have a patronising tone. And speaking of tones, the book does the now-regular DC Ink thing of having a maturely reduced palette, to bring extra distinction to what would otherwise look like getting swamped in the child-friendly spinners. Except here it takes everything down a very blue and violet path, that really did not work for me until that third-of-the-way-in twist. Sunlit Greek islands should have a bit more of the green and yellow about them, methinks.
But the biggest sin for me was that I found a little too much of it heavy going. The dialogue count is high here, and this is one of the wordiest comics around. I found too much that lost the sprightly sense of that montage sequence I mentioned, and carried on yacking. You could say a late reveal is too obvious. You could also say there is in fact too much of the crossing over of the border between our world and that of myth. So, while I acknowledge it can't be easy in turning over 350pp of prose into much less in the way of graphic pages, I do still think this could have been trimmed further, and given a much more light touch. Nothing here, from that palette to Diana's whole lot, is exactly allowed to zing and take flight.
Still, that said, there is a certain meatiness here. The original Bardugo has a high rating from many a fan, it would appear, and I don't think people will dislike this adaptation for losing its dramatic oomph. For those readers, even if not for me, this will still remain a strong page-turner.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Oh, and I must close with the admission that I've lied in the above, and Diana's lasso of truth has got to me. This is not a DC Ink title, for that imprint, along with the younger Zoom branding, has been dropped. So it will be called a DC title, with a 'young adult' flag on it – but to me it is an Ink book in all but name. It's not the best one, but neither is it the worst. It already is pretending that Batman: Nightwalker: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, Stuart Moore and Chris Wildgoose is not an Ink title, what's more.
You can read more book reviews or buy Wonder Woman: Warbringer: The Graphic Novel by Leigh Bardugo, Louise Simonson and Kit Seaton at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Wonder Woman: Warbringer: The Graphic Novel by Leigh Bardugo, Louise Simonson and Kit Seaton at Amazon.com.
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