Wonder Woman by George Perez Omnibus Volume 3 (2018)
Reprints Wonder Woman #46-62, 168-169, 600, and War of the Gods #1-4
Written by George Perez
Art by George Perez, Jill Thompson, Romeo Tanghal, Mindy Newell, and Cynthia Martin
I reviewed volume 1 of the Wonder Woman by George Perez collection three years ago this month, and instead of waiting for the standard sized books to finish coming out I would pick up the already published omnibus and bring the reviews to a finale. Perez started rebuilding the Wonder Woman mythos in 1987, restarting her history from scratch. Because DC Comics didn’t do a full line-wide reboot in the wake of the continuity shuffling Crisis on Infinite Earths, there were lots of unresolved questions lingering. One of these was who is Wonder Girl if Wonder Woman just debuted to the public? Wonder Girl, aka Donna Troy, was a prominent member of the New Teen Titans whose origins were wholly tied to the older heroine. Perez finally has the former sidekick meet Wonder Woman, but don’t wait for any answers because there are none, just hints at a mystery surrounding them.
This collection is centered around the build-up and payoff for the War of the Gods, a capstone event to Perez’s run. This starts with Wonder Woman and Donna Troy investigating the Greek island where WW first encountered the mythical witch Circe years earlier. The tackle her bestiamorphs men turned to animals or vice versa. All this is to set-up the ongoing conspiracy for the next year of Circe and other forces working behind the scenes to destabilize the Earth and upend the various pantheons of gods.
A monumental event occurs when the Amazons of Themyscria journey from their hidden island and to Man’s World to begin diplomacy with the rest of the planet. It turns out there are machinations in the works to frame these warriors and turn humanity against them. At the same time, Wonder Woman has to balance her role as a hero with her personal life as close friends to Julia & Vanessa Kapatelis. Vanessa loses one of her close friends to suicide, and Wonder Woman isn’t able to be there for her, causing a rift to grow between them.
Destructive events begin with the return of the goddess Decay, who plagues Wonder Woman. Hermes feels a change in his powers only to come face to face with his Roman counterpart Mercury. My most favorite component is the post-Crisis introduction of Doctor Psycho. Psycho is a little person with the unique ability to enter and manipulate the dreams of others. He’s enlisted by Circe to plague Wonder Woman and her allies’ dreams and takes particular delight in it. Jill Thompson’s artwork is perfect, helping present the man as exceptionally creepy. The strange thing about this character is that he doesn’t appear to be a reboot from the pre-Crisis version. I was a bit confused about how he was introduced because Wonder Woman seems to know who he is. I looked up wikis about the character online, and they all seem to say this is his first appearance post-Crisis but also reference elements from his history before that event. I wish Perez had been a little clearer in Psycho’s origins.
This is all lead up to War of the Gods, one of two events in 1991 from DC Comics, the other being Armageddon 2001. George Perez began having disputes with the company when he realized they weren’t going to promote the 50th Anniversary of Wonder Woman and believed the character deserved the same fanfare Superman had received in 1988 and Batman in 1989. Additionally, DC editorial made changes to his stories, not allowing him to showcase the wedding of Steve Trevor and Etta Candy, pushing that into the next writer’s run. Perez was incensed with that decision because it was a plot point he had been building to throughout his run, which led to him refusing work from DC Comics for a long while.
By the time War of the Gods began, the Amazons had been framed for crimes during their visit to Man’s World, and now even Wonder Woman is being hunted. The U.S. military launches an attack on Themyscria, labeling them an enemy. Ancient pantheons of gods from around the world begin reappearing from Egyptian to Mayan to Norse to Hindu and more. Olympus has fallen as it becomes the battleground for the Greek & Roman deities battling for supremacy. Circe is behind it all, sowing chaos to enact revenge on those who have crossed her for millennia. She even uses Captain Marvel aka Shazam against Wonder Woman and Perez cleverly makes use of the character’s ties to the power of cross-pantheon gods and titans.
Much like the majority of DC crossover events that I read last summer, War of the Gods collapses under the chaos of tying into dozens of other characters’ books. There are often numerous pages that serve as teasers to get you to pick up the latest issue of Hawkworld or Justice League America. Because of that, the four-issue mini-series presents lots of plot points that get tied up elsewhere. Perez chooses to keep most of the focus on Wonder Woman, and the tie-in issues of her own title are probably the most vital to fully understand the main story. There’s some really great development of the Shazam mythos, bringing the Wizard and Black Adam into the story. I almost wish Perez had stuck around and done a Shazam ongoing after ending his tenure on Wonder Woman. He would have gone in a very different direction than most writers have with the character.
George Perez managed to reimagine Wonder Woman in exciting new ways that deeply tied her to the Greek mythological roots of the character. His work on the heroine was more radical than Byrne’s Superman reboot or Miller’s Batman: Year One. He rebuilt the character from the ground up, and it resulted in something that is referenced in every writer’s run on Wonder Woman since. While the five-year run had some moments of lesser quality, it had a great first two years, pretty much flawless, that allowed Wonder Woman to interact with the greater DC Universe but kept the focus on developing her and a magnificent support cast. If you have enjoyed the Wonder Woman films, I think Perez’s run is a great place to start if you’re interested in her comic book adventures.