Like many of DC’s most prominent characters, Wonder Woman got rebooted in the late ‘80s. All previous continuity was out, except to be used as inspiration. And the architect behind this reboot was one of the all-time great comic book artists, George Perez. He plotted and drew, leaving the actual scripting to others, but he demonstrated a solid understanding of story structure.
The retelling of Wonder Woman’s origin and debut is spread out over several issues. The story takes its time, but things are constantly happening. It’s paced like a YA novel, more or less. Four issues in, and Diana still speaks barely any English (which makes sense, as she’s not exactly local). Also in #4, she fights her first monster in public view, thereby earning the Wonder Woman nickname in the press.
Decompressing the story was a wise move on Perez’s part, because this is when the character is at her most interesting. She’s an immigrant from paradise, basically, which gives her a unique perspective when seeing the rest of our flawed world for the first time. And she arrives with a clearly defined mission—stopping Ares from unleashing another world war.
Meanwhile, Col. Steve Trevor, who has made his share of internal enemies during his time in the Air Force, is framed and on the run. His and Diana’s situations begin to interlock nicely.
And this is just the middle of the story so far. The slow build suits her…as does Perez’s art, but Perez’s art suits pretty much every single superhero ever.
Writers: George Perez and Len Wein
Penciler: George Perez
Inker: Bruce D. Patterson
Publisher: DC Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; included in Wonder Woman vol. 1: Gods and Mortals (TPB)
Appropriate For: ages 10 and up