Wonder Woman Conan #1
Writer: Gail Simone
Art: Aaron Lopresti/Matt Ryan
Cover Art: Darick Robertson/Tony Aviña (Variant by Liam Sharp/Laura Martin)
The reader is treated to an ancient tale of a barbarian and an amazon. The times are brutal, the people are harsh, and the gods alone know where fate will take them.
What’s going on:
This is the start of a brand new book crossing over characters and companies. Outside of some familiarity you may carry from other sources regarding the respective characters, there is nothing that you need to know.
What we learn (possible minor spoilers):
The story opens and is told from Conan’s perspective with partial omniscience. The feeling off the bat is there reader is getting to know Conan, and that perhaps the reader may need more time getting to know than they do the amazon. Which is fair, given their respective visibilities in current pop culture.
We see a bit of Conan’s childhood, primarily his introduction to a young girl who bears a striking resemblance to Diana of Themyscira. Could they be one in the same? May be. But for now, we shift to “present day” and see Conan as the seeker-barbarian – ruthless, opportunistic, proud, noble in a sense and of course barbaric. Conan strikes a few blows and bargain, finding himself at a tournament the likes of which he’s not seen. A lone woman is pitted against several hulking warriors. He is annoyed at what is sure to be the pointless slaughter of this woman, but he watches. And find the woman surprisingly skilled, easily besting her foes. And more, she sees familiar: Could she be the self-same girl he met years ago? It seems not even she knows for sure……
To be honest, I was extremely skeptical about this book. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. Let’s start with the art. Solid work. Lopresti created a classic comic book feel, masterfully capturing each main character’s look and depicted strong, fighting men and women without ridiculous proportions. Fight scenes are savage and yes, bloody, but not gory. Details give a terrific ancient feel without being heavy-handed. I love the panel layouts as well as the intricate borders offsetting the flashback scenes.
The writing. I’ve read some of Howard’s original Conan, a few comics here and there and seen a few movies. The version here is a blend of all of them, occasionally gruff and rough but no more than Conan himself, and his manner and thoughts reflect his barbarian spirit. I’ve read quite a bit of Wonder Woman and she is well-represented here. We see more of the barbarian than the amazon in this issue, but what we see of her is the essence of Wonder Woman.
The story. This was a great start to a book. A little back story, some adventure, a meeting, several plot hooks, and a dramatic “to be continued”. The plot is interesting, the mysteries are intriguing: Is “our” Wonder Woman the girl he met as a child? Are they different people entirely? Is this even “our” Wonder Woman? I have no idea. But I want to know more. And I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Conclusion: This is what a comic should be – fun but with depth, high adventure with heart. If this continues, this will indeed be a story for the ages.