Top Wonder Woman Trade Paperbacks

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

It's been a while since we've done one of our lists of top essential trade paperbacks (see our Superman and Batman lists), so here's a guide to Wonder Woman trade paperbacks.

There's a good amount of modern Wonder Woman trade paperbacks out there, though they collect runs from just a couple of different creative teams. So, instead of offering a ranked list here, we're going to give an overview of the various modern Wonder Woman eras you can read in collected form.

* Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals
The four volume collection of the modern-era Wonder Woman stories by comics legend George Perez kicks off with Gods and Mortals. Perez's stories are grandious in scope, with traditional representations of the Greek gods; the narration is wordy as befits the mythic tone. Perez's Wonder Woman is new to "Man's World" and sometimes seems naive, but readers wanting the full story will thrill to her first meetings with Superman and the villains Cheetah and Silver Swan. Also:
- Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Gods
- Wonder Woman: Beauty and the Beasts
- Wonder Woman: Destiny Calling

* Wonder Woman: The Contest
Jumping all the way from the first issues to Wonder Woman's hundredth-issue anniversary, this two-volume set collects stories by William Messner-Loebs. The Contest is DC Comics' Wonder Woman answer to the popular Death of Superman and Batman: Knightfall stories that were popular at the time; Diana loses the title of Wonder Woman and is replaced by a darker, more violent successor. Many of the overdrawn figures and gratuituous cheesecake of 1990s-era comics are present here, but Messner-Loebs also writes a deceptively deep conflict between Diana and her mother Hippolyta. The dark Wonder Woman, Artemis, later becomes a strong supporting character in the Wonder Woman series. Also:
- Wonder Woman: The Challenge of Artemis

* Wonder Woman: Second Genesis
John Byrne takes over the Wonder Woman series in this two-volume set following immediately after the Messner-Loebs run. These stories show Byrne establishing Wonder Woman's physical place among the DC pantheon, as she takes on and beats doppelgangers of the Doomsday creature that killed Superman and the Flash villain Professor Zoom; Darkseid's invasion of Paradise Island is referenced in Phil Jimenez's later stories. Byrne would go on to re-establish Wonder Woman's invisible jet and place Hippolyta with the Justice Society of America; Diana briefly dies and becomes the Goddess of Truth in Byrne's run, before she's resurected. Also:
- Wonder Woman: Lifelines

* Wonder Woman: Paradise Lost
Wonder Woman fans rejoiced to hear that long-time Wonder Woman fan Phil Jimenez, whose artwork is often compared to George Perez, would be taking over the title. In some of my favorite stories, Jimenez examines Diana's role as an ambassador of peace to Man's World, and the trials that come with it. Wonder Woman goes to war alongside a battalion of DC Comics heroes, and there's a special treat for Lynda Carter fans at the end of the second book. Also:
- Wonder Woman: Paradise Found

* Wonder Woman: Down to Earth
Wonder Woman meets The West Wing in this five-volume series by Greg Rucka (plus the Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia graphic novel). Rucka continues to examine Wonder Woman's life as the Amazonian ambassador, as her Amazonian values conflict with the laws of Man's World. Diana battles villains including Medusa, Circe, and Cheetah, at the same time she fights for her reputation with the world media. The stories cross-over with DC Comics' mega-event Infinite Crisis, and feature a shocking struggle for Superman's life. Also:
- Wonder Woman: Bitter Rivals
- Wonder Woman: Eyes of the Gorgon
- Wonder Woman: Land of the Dead
- Wonder Woman: Mission’s End
- Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia

* Wonder Woman: Who is Wonder Woman?
The newest era of Wonder Woman begins with a book by Grey's Anatomy writer Allan Heinberg, and continues with a story by novelist Jodi Picoult and then comics star Gail Simone. The quality of these stories is uneven at times, but Heinberg's tale gives Wonder Woman a new identity and makes a shocking change to her powers, and Simone's ongoing run has been widely well-received. Also:
- Wonder Woman: Love and Murder
- Wonder Woman: Amazons Attack
- Wonder Woman: The Circle
- Wonder Woman: Ends of the Earth

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1 comment:

  1. fwiw, I liked the Hiketeia hardcover story (it might be available in SC form), but it's an original story, not a collection.

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