It’s magic lariats at dawn at STARBURST HQ as we continue to debate the merits – or otherwise – of Gal Gadot’s debut solo big screen movie turn as DC Comics’ legendary Amazonian Princess. Even those who take the view that the film’s a little critically over-rated will agree, however, that as well as being a massive Box Office smash, the film marked a significant uptick in the creative fortunes of the faltering DC Cinematic Universe which has so far delivered more howlers than a forest full of wolves. Signe Bergstorm’s lavish, beautifully-illustrated and occasionally quirky coffee table book is a timely chronicle of the fictional life and times of the comic world’s most famous sister/princess/warrior/ambassador as Gadot makes her third appearance in Justice League and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women purports to tell the true story of the creation of the fiction.
Bergstrom enthusiastically leads us through Wonder Woman’s chaotic timeline – in best comic book tradition she’s been re-envisaged, reimagined and reborn every few years, rendering any attempt to create a proper continuity throughline for the character pointless and impossible – from her origins in 1941 (sculpted from clay by her Amazonian mother Queen Hippoltya) in the wake of the success of Batman and Superman, a fallow and anodyne period in the 1950s before her rebirth as a pop culture icon in the 1960s (which saw a major revisualisaton for the character) and into the 1970s when Lynda Carter embodied Wonder Woman in eye-popping style in the briefly-popular but well-remembered US TV series. Casual readers might find themselves baffled and confused by the character’s distinctly non-linear progression in her comic incarnation and the randomness with which DC Comics rewrote her history, rebooted her origins and refined her look – all fairly standard stuff for the comic industry – but the one constant throughout her tangled chronology is her standing as a strong, full-blooded feminist icon standing head and shoulders alongside her more muscular, masculine counterparts.
Peppered with (sometimes-brief) interviews with many of the key players in Wonder Woman’s history, from writers and artists, film directors Zak Snyder and Patty Jenkins, current Diana Gal Gadot and with sections devoted to merchandise, key storylines and the changing face and look of the character, Ambassador of Truth is a rich and proud treasure trove edition which helps cements the character’s place at last in our modern cultural landscape. With little gift inserts such as a wearable tiara (errr….), a signed publicity picture of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, a 1940s Wonder Woman valentine card (the earliest example of the character’s merchandising exploitation) and a press-out-and-dress Wonder Woman/Diana Prince figure (which we’ve not yet had the chance to investigate – ahem) Ambassador of Truth is an eccentric and yet essential tribute to a comic boom icon finally being accorded the same respect and acclaim of her numerous male counterparts. This is an Amazon delivery which is unlikely to disappoint.
WONDER WOMAN – AMBASSADOR OF TRUTH / AUTHOR: SIGNE BERGSTROM / PUBLISHER: HARPER DESIGN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW