Essential Reading Before You See Wonder Woman

By Tom Pritchard on at

Wonder Woman has been on comic pages since 1941, so its a travesty that it took so long for her to get her own solo movie. But it's very nearly here, and that means she's going to be re-introduced to a great many people who don't know her comic book history. If you're one of them, here's a selection of stuff you should read before you head into the cinema.

Blood, £12.78

The New 52 brought a lot of changes to the DC universe, and Wonder Woman was no exception. This story is a retelling of her actual literal origin as a person, rather than her path to superheroics, revealing who her father is. It's a secret her mother Queen Hippolyta kept from her for many years, and the only person angrier than Diana herself is the goddess Hera. No more spoilers, if you want to find out more you'll have to read it for yourself [Buy it here]

Wonder Woman: Earth One, £12.78

The Earth One re-telling of Wonder Woman's origins was not without controversy, but it is one of the latest attempts to retell Diana's origin story for a modern audience. It's similar to Golden and Silver Age comic books in terms of tone, but keeps the modern themes of female empowerment. Just be warned, Grant Morrison wanted to be true to William Moulton Marston's original work, so there are a lot of less-then-subtle bondage themes throughout the story. [Buy it here]

Wonder Woman: Year One, £10.49

Last year DC instigated a soft reboot of its comics with Rebirth, overhauling all their comic series while still keeping some connection to the New 52 that came before it. As has been the case with Wonder Woman many times over the decades, this gave DC the opportunity to retell her origin story in the form of a Year One arc - similar to what they did with Batman, Green Arrow, the JLA, and more in the past. As the name suggests it retells Diana's origin during her first year as a superhero, which leads her into conflict with the god Ares. It also showed a more diplomatic side to Diana, showing that she's far more than just a kick-ass warrior. [Buy it here]

The Golden Age Omnibus Vol 1, £54.39

Like a lot of classic comics, the oldest Wonder Woman tales don't stand up to the test of time. There's racism, sexism, and all those other things that were deemed acceptable back in the '40s and '50s that aren't today. Still, if you want to get a good idea of where Wonder Woman came from, the old golden age comics are a must read. [Buy it here]

Gods and Mortals, £24.41

George Perez is considered one of the all-time great Wonder Woman writers, reinventing the character for a new era back in the '70s. Gods and Mortals is his take on the Amazonian Princess's origin, exploring her creation on Themyscira, her first steps into the world of man, and her initial conflicts with the god Ares. Wonder Woman's origin has been explored many times over the years, but this is widely considered to be the best. [Buy it here]

Spirit of Truth, £48

This story comes from Paul Dini, who (along with Bruce Timm) brought us Batman the Animated Series and Harley Quinn, offering what many consider to be a compelling take on Diana's position in the modern world. It sees her as a champion of women's rights across the world, acting as am ambassador and fighting terrorists along the way. It also features the distinctive art of Alex Ross, which makes this story a must have.

The main problem with this one is that it's not been republished for a while, and I can't find anywhere that sells it digitally. So unfortunately you're going to have to cough up a bit of cash for a copy. Thankfully you can get it as part of one big collection of Dini and Ross's work, featuring Batman, Superman, Shazam, and the JLA. [Buy it here]

Paradise Lost, from £10.07

This collection features a number of stories, including a couple that see Wonder Woman team ups with Batman and Lois Lane. The main tale, however, focuses on an Amazon Civil War, with Diana having to mediate the conflict during her mother's absence. The Lois Lane team-up is generally considered one of the best Wonder Woman comics ever written, and even if it is only a single issue this collection is well worth it for that alone. [Buy it here]

The Hiketeia, £10.39

This one draws on a lot of themes of the morality of superheroics, and throws Wonder Woman into conflict with Batman over their ideas of what's appropriate. The comic features a woman called Danielle seeking Wonder Woman's aid, but the problem is that she murders the sex slavers who killed her sister - which caught the attention of Batman. Diana swore an oath to protect the girl, but batman is pretty unrelenting. So what's to be done? [Buy it here]

The True Amazon, £17.26

Rather than focussing on Diana as this pure selfless character that battle for truth and justice (The Themysciran way), The True Amazon goes back to her youth and shows her as an arrogant spoilt child - fawned over by the Amazons and constantly fed tales about how great a warrior she'll grow into. The story forces her to come to terms with her own limitations, and learn the values of courage, honour, and humility that make the Amazons such formidable warriors. [Buy it here]

The Circle, £19

Written by Gail Simone, the longest running female writer to tackle Wonder Woman, and finally put things in the right place following the Infinite Crisis story. It refocuses on Diana's origin on Themyscira (a lot of stories do this), revealing that there were a number of Amazons opposed to her birth and want her to be put down. Powerless for much of the tale, it also proves tat Wonder Woman is a formidable warrior without any special abilities - as she fights against neo-nazis, defectors from Gorilla Grodd's army, and even members of the Green Lantern Corps. [Buy it here]

Justice League: A League of One, £15

While technically a Justice League comic, this story is all Wonder Woman. According to prophecy the Justice league are to be wiped out by the ancient dragon Drakul Karfang. Diana is the only one aware of the prophecy, and while she is advised to leave the league and hide away somewhere safe she launches the rest of the League into space and takes on the dragon alone. If you ever wondered how her powers match up to the rest of the League, this is the perfect tale to check out. [Buy it here]