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Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Warrior

Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Warrior
Studio: DK Publishing
Publishing Date: May 2nd, 2017

Description: Learn all you need to know about the legendary Amazon in Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Warrior, including her powers and abilities, weapons, armor, and costume. Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Warrior showcases stunning Wonder Woman comic artwork and examines iconic characters as well as key issues and story lines. Packed with information on allies, enemies, locations, and much more, this is a must-have book for fans of DC Comics, Wonder Woman comics and characters, and the Justice League of America. Celebrate 75 years of the legendary Amazon princess and explore all aspects of the world of Wonder Woman, from the Golden Age to the Rebirth story line.

Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Warrior Review
By James Harvey

Covering Wonder Woman's history in remarkable detail over the span of roughly 200 pages, Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Warrior is another successful 'ultimate guide' release from DK Publishing. Major themes, storylines and characters get plenty of coverage as all 75 years of Wonder Woman's comic book history is presented in a clear, digestible format. For newcomers looking to learn more about the Amazon Princess, or longtime fans looking for a bit of a refresher, this is the book for you.

Right away, the book doesn't hold back on the utter importance of Wonder Woman's character. The new foreword by Wonder Woman writer Greg Rucka perfectly encapsulates what she means to her fans, the DC Universe and the world at large. Wonder Woman has had a profound impact on pop culture, and in the fight for social justice and equal rights, and Rucka highlights just how crucial that has been in this day and age (especially in this current day and age). It's a great piece of writing that not only hits home, but reminds us the key role Wonder Woman still plays in the world today.

Jumping into the meat of the book, it's apparent almost immediately that Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Warrior is going to dive deep into the lore of the beloved Amazon. There were characters included who, honestly, were new to me. Doctor Cyber? Ten of Spades? Never heard of them until this book plopped into my lap. However, given past 'ultimate guide' releases by DK Publishing, it should be no surprise as to how thorough this book is. In addition to Wonder Woman's extensive supporting cast, it also thoroughly covers a varied amount of comic events. Yes, the book covers the usual grounds - pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths, George Perez's reboot, The New 52 (or The New Age) and so on - but it even covers parts of Wonder Woman's publishing history that I didn't expect to see covered so finely. The detail the book goes into about John Byrne's run on the title, for example, or the 90s "Enter: Artemis" arc, is unexpected but welcome. Despite the lukewarm reaction to those storylines, Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Warrior gives them a fair shake.

Important storylines, as mentioned above, get the spotlight, too. I was glad to see "Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia" get two-page spread, and was pleased to see "Eyes of the Gorgon" get a fair amount of focus. And yes, the controversial death of Max Lord is covered here, as is her time as secret agent Diana Prince. Even Wonder Woman's role in "Flashpoint" and the storyline's relevance is handled well. In terms of The New 52 content, it's all covered here - Azzarello's run, Finch's run, the characters appearance in Justice League - and her romance with Superman cited as a key storyline.

In fact, this book is really evenhanded when it comes to its focus and presentation. Yes, not everything gets the exact same amount of attention, but it seems like the attention given is always just enough. There is a lot of ground to cover for Wonder Woman's 75 years in publication and nothing here ever feels slighted. Remarkably, even the current "Rebirth" era gets a fair amount of pages. Not a lot, clearly, as the "Rebirth" era is still new, but Wonder Woman: Guide to the Amazon Warrior actually takes us well into the "The Truth" arc which kicked off the latest Wonder Woman series.

As you can see by the copious examples above, Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Warrior does an admirable job in making Wonder Woman's 75 years in comics accessible and a joy to either uncover or revisit. And yes, even some of lowpoints of her history is looked at here, but it all matters in order to present a complete look at the character's run up to today. As with DK Publishing's work on their other 'ultimate guide' titles, they make sure everything, no matter how small or silly, gets covered. The writing also presents everything in a consistent tone, helping to bring a sense of balance to the sometimes uneven source material.

The selection of the images for this guide is also really worth noting. Whether it's the amazing Darwyn Cooke splash (from DC: The New Frontier), a beautiful Alex Ross painting, the DC Rebirth-renditions of character by both Jim Lee and Liam Sharp, or great pieces by other notable artists throughout the decades, their is some amazing artwork to behold. Nearly every image is crisp and clear and looks fantastic, with the odd exception (the image used for Sicarra's entry is compressed, for example, but that seems to be the only instance). It provides a great visual breakdown of how the character has changed over the years (one section even lines up the different takes on Wonder Woman over the decades, showing that despite the slight deviations made here and there, her core look never wavered). The same can be said for a good chunk of the characters in the book, as multiple takes on many characters are highlights on those who warrant full-page or two-page spreads. To get an idea of what the book has to offer, assorted preview images can be found on this page.

Overall, Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Warrior is a fantastic title that new fans or long-time admirers should definitely add to their collection. DK Publishing continues to really excel with these nifty 'ultimate guide' titles. It's a handy reference to Wonder Woman's entire comic history, presented with striking visuals and fair approach to every part of her comic lore. Without question, this book comes Highly Recommended!

On a related note, DK Publishing has also released Lego DC Super Heroes - The Awesome Guide, a younger-skewing guide release which focuses on the popular Lego minifigure line. While it focuses primarily on the many DC Comics-inspired Lego lines, it does provide a light glimpse into the world of the DC Comics Universe, too. Packaged with an exclusive The New 52-themed Wonder Woman minifigure, Lego DC Super Heroes - The Awesome Guide features a fair amount of content laid out in short, punchy sentences and eye-popping page design. It's an attractive book with a fun feel to it, making it an attractive read, and one that should especially appeal to younger readers. Of course older fans will get a lot out of it, too. On top of the exclusive minifigure, it does a solid job of running down the wealth of Lego DC Super Heroes lines, and could prove to be a worthwhile resource to have on hand.

There are plenty of get bits of facts and trivia strewn about the entire book, all perfectly coupling the vast amount of image galleries consisting of renders and toy shots. There's plenty to look at and a fair amount of worthwhile facts to read up on. A nice touch of the book is, outside of providing a nice breakdown of the assorted minifigure releases, is that it also provides a nice dose of DC Comics Universe lore, a perfect place for potential new fans to dip their toes. To get a closer look at the book, check out the preview images below. And, in fact, Lego DC Super Heroes - The Awesome Guide serves as a nice companion purchase to Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Warrior. Both are great releases that should please both casual and long-time followers and, perhaps, serve as a bridge for those looking to delve a little deeper into these respective worlds. Both are worth picking up!

Both Wonder Woman: The Ultimate Guide to the Amazon Warrior and Lego DC Super Heroes - The Awesome Guide are now available at retail and digital outlets everywhere.


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