Wonder Woman: Warbringer Review: Relishing the Character's Spirit in YA

Review Copy Courtesy of DC Comics and NetGalley

“Sisters in battle, I am shield and blade to you. As I breathe, your enemies will know no sanctuary. While I live, your cause is mine.”

- Leigh Bardugo

Image Courtesy of DC Comics (Still from WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER)

Red, gold, and blue armor. Lasso of truth. Godly powers and abilities. Readers of the original comics and viewers of recent DC films will instantly recognize these as the characteristics of Princess Diana of Themyscira, better known to most as the iconic superhero, Wonder Woman. With the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 in 2020 and its successful 2017 predecessor Wonder Woman, both helmed by director Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman: Warbringer introduces another story for the Amazonian princess, Diana, whose life changes drastically with the arrival of a mortal girl to the hidden island of Themyscira. With the risks of permanent exile from the only home she has ever known, Diana goes with the mysterious girl to end the line of Warbringers, the direct descendants of Helen of Troy and whose name indicates, warriors who bring war and conflict. Throughout this work, instances of female empowerment and the use of several female role models outside Diana made for a rather enjoyable read, leaving a pleasant effect. With beautiful, if somewhat plain artwork, this graphic novel interpretation of such a character as Wonder Woman maintains its traditional style and actions while incorporating more modern themes as well in a graphic novel that relishes the spirit of the feminine hero in a YA form.

Beginning with Diana’s narration, the plot immediately dives into a major theme that is the driving force for Diana’s later choices: the feeling of not belonging. Unlike the other Amazons, Diana wasn’t resurrected to Themyscira; instead, she was molded from clay of the island and given life by the Olympian goddesses originally from Greek Mythology. Despite the lack of acceptance, Diana works to prove herself to her mother as well as the other Amazons when the arrival of a young mortal girl throws off the balance and peace of Themyscira. Heeding the Oracle’s words, Diana along with the strange girl and Warbringer, Alia, leave Themyscira in search of a spring which will bring an end to the Warbringers and prevent chaos from occurring both Themyscira and the rest of the world. Following their arrival in New York City, the two girls continue to struggle against those who want to control the Warbringer, both humans and those outside the mortal world and bring destruction and devastation everywhere. However, with the alliance created between the two girls and their newfound friends, they persevere to reach their goal. Will they be able to succeed?

Image Courtesy of DC Comics (Still from WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER)

As someone who isn’t fully immersed in everything that is graphic novels, Warbringer was an enjoyable introduction to the genre. However, within its identity as a graphic novel, the first thing to discuss is the artwork. With a blue-toned color scheme and more traditional comic book style, readers of the originals, as well as new readers, will surely have no problem enjoying the eye-popping visuals. In terms of plot, the plotline fails to be consistently entertaining, clicking at a turtle’s pace at several key moments. However, the majority of the novel is well-paced enough to keep from feeling dragged on. The aspect that stood out in this novel was the theme of friendship on various levels. The newfound friendship between Diana and Alia, the old friendship of Alia and her friend Nim, and the overall connection created by the group was the thing to take from this novel. Without refreshingly focusing on romantic relationships, the primary focus of friendship is something rarer in recent fiction, so the addition of this theme was overall very refreshing to see, especially in a graphic novel.

Image Courtesy of DC Comics (Still from WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER)

With the action-packed moments and impressive graphics, Wonder Woman: Warbringer is, without a doubt, a well-done adaptation that properly tells of Diana of Themyscira for both new and old readers. While in terms of plot it may be lacking, the usage of modern and universal themes easily allows the novel to still maintain a sense of enjoyment.

She will become one of the world's greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning.Based on the New York Times bestselling novel by Leigh Bardugo, this graphic novel adaptation brings to life Diana’s first adventure beyond the hidden shores of Themyscira.

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn't know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER Hits Store Shelves on January 7th, 2019.