Comic Review: Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed (DC Comics)

It’s Princess Diana’s 16th ‘Born Day’, and she’s rising and shining on her Amazon island. She’s coming into her own, and eager to grow, mature, and explore the shore. But […]

It’s Princess Diana’s 16th ‘Born Day’, and she’s rising and shining on her Amazon island.

She’s coming into her own, and eager to grow, mature, and explore the shore. But when she ventures outside the barrier that cloaks the island in invisibility, she realizes that the big world is a much different place than her little island. From the moment she’s away from home, Diana is tested in her values, strength, and compassion. DC brings us a new, full length original graphic novel: Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed.

New York Times bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak, Shout, etc) artist Leila del Duca (Sleepless, Shutter, etc) and colourist Kelly Fitzpatrick (Bitch Planet, Quincredible, Reversal, etc) reimagine Wonder Woman’s origins in this story about the refugee experience, teenage activism, and fighting for justice.

The early phase of the book reads magnificently, the classic and art nouveau-richness of Leila del Duca’s visuals are completely cohesive and capture the surroundings. We ‘get’ Diana, her upbringing, her all-female surroundings, her hopes, and ambitions. The Palace, the warriors, The Five Mothers. How the Amazon society works. Kelly Fitzpatrick narrows her colour range to an orange and green tint in this phase, perhaps to indicate ‘earth tones’, an organic and self-sustaining world of women.

As Diana “becomes born” at the age of 16, as she emerges like a new-born from her protective all-female Amazon bubble, the story gets richer and the situations more diverse. Newcomer Diana’s naiveté about humans and their peccadillos make for some fun moments as she learns to navigate through the cityscape. Or, The Big Apple cityscape, to be precise, and this is where the message of diversity, family, acceptance, and multiculturalism go astray. The city is the home of creep guys who harass women on the streets, males who drive garbage trucks, and abduct young children for sex slavery. Men who tear down parks to put up condos, men who talk too much, well, you get the picture. There are a lot of bad bad men in this story, and only a few good ones. Why not inject at least one strong, confident ‘woke’ male into the story to enhance multi-gender mutual respect and positive balance?

This shortcoming is a pity, and perhaps ‘straw men’ act as the obvious boogey’ men’ in the telling of this tale. Otherwise, the twists, turns, pivots, and pirouettes of the narrative give us a real sense of exploration and adventure. We get a fairly representative picture of what refugees must learn, what elements of their culture they celebrate and cherish. del Duca’s drawings are not always flashy but are ‘sincere’ in their line work. She captures the city, the camps, the mechanics of human interaction, the expressions, and gestures of hope. Likewise, Fitzpatrick’s colours, though sometimes puzzling, wrap the scenic environments in visionary ways that transmit more than ‘just’ skin colour and clothing choices.

It’s quite a voyage and quite the read!

DC Comics, Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed, graphic novel, $16.99 for 208 pages of content, Teen

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!