GRAPHIC NOVELS

Wonder Woman: Warbringer

DC Comics. Jan. 2020. 208p. adapted by adapted by Louise Simonson. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781401282554.
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Gr 7 Up–DC’s most dynamic heroine returns to the paneled page in this graphic adaptation of Bardugo’s 2017 novel. Molded from clay and animated by goddesses, Diana, Princess of Themyscira, is, unlike her battle-tested Amazon sisters, “hollow and breakable.” Desperate to prove herself, she enters a footrace but veers off a cliff to save an imperiled ship on the horizon. When she brings Alia, the wreck’s sole survivor, to shore, earthquakes rattle her idyllic homeland and Amazons fall inexplicably ill. Alia is a Warbringer, descended from Helen of Troy and shadowed by death and desolation. Facing exile and chaos, Diana and Alia must travel into the world of men and bring the Warbringer bloodline to an end. Simonson and Seaton’s joint effort combines key elements of superhero comics, movies, and texts. Although word and image aren’t always perfectly balanced, the script judiciously filets Bardugo’s dense original. The fast-paced, witty, action-packed narrative chugs along with cinematic verve, ably balancing lore, characterization, and distinctive sequences. Each character—especially Alia, of mixed black and Greek parentage, and Nim, her fat, fierce, funny, and fiendishly intelligent confidante—has ample space to express their individuality. While most illustrations are subsumed by blue-gray wash, the palette flares red and orange when things grow especially intense—an effective and clever device.
VERDICT Every exceptional aspect of Bardugo’s novel—especially her ethnically, emotionally, and experientially inclusive cast—shines here. Simonson and Seaton present many models of female strength for reluctant readers, comic geeks, and Wonder Woman fans.

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