Saturday, 26 April 2014

Wonder Woman The Hiketeia: The Quintessential Comic Book

A Review By: Amelia
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Wonder Woman is a difficult subject (well, at least for most male comic book writers, but that’s a story for another day). Whether or not they don’t know what she stands for or how she should be portrayed (feminism is not her backstory nor the only part of her!) she just doesn’t get as much attention as her male superhero counterparts. 

The Hiketeia is the story of a young woman hunted by Batman for crimes she committed but protected through an ancient Greek bond by Wonder Woman. It’s a simple story: simple and sad, and nothing short of a modern day Greek tragedy. It was written by Greg Rucka with the art being done by J.G. Jones. Surprisingly, it was Rucka’s first go at writing for Wonder Woman and, even more surprisingly, he did it well.

The main characters of the piece are Danielle, a young woman who’s out for revenge against the men that wronged her sister, and, of course, Wonder Woman. Batman is also part of this story but he’s more a background character–kind of a passing thought–as he moves with the story (instead of the story moving around him). Danielle is a little cut and paste of a character as she goes through the motions of revenge and guilt and shame like they’re a mask instead of things she’s actually feeling, but Rucka’s handling of Wonder Woman is absolutely amazing. She’s a real person, not a cookie-cutter model of feminism or a ‘strong female’. She’s shown as thoughtful and caring: there’s even humour in her which is something you don’t see in a lot of other Wonder Woman pieces.

The art style is lovely in The Hiketeia. It’s a style with lots of shadows and
dimensions, but there is also a lot of colour and detail that comes through. Sometimes shadows overpower the piece, but they are in perfect balance in this graphic novel. The only thing I’d change about the art work is that some of the poses that Wonder Woman strikes are just wrong: her proportions or the angle she’s standing at just make it very put on, very a-man-drew-this-and-because-it’s-a-female-character-her-tits-have-to-be-visible in-every-picture-I-draw. As a female comic reader, that gets under my skin. Other than that though, the style is spot on, and those few sexist poses can be forgiven for the overall experience of the piece.

I loved The Hiketeia. I loved everything about it: the story, the art, the mythology, and the tone. More than all that though, I loved how it’s a story that shows that Wonder Woman deserves respect in the comic book world because she is just so very different from her male counterparts. Batman sees the world in black and white, but Wonder Woman knows that it’s only shades of grey. She’s capable of understanding people as the male superheroes never will and, honestly, that’s probably what makes her such a hard character to write for!

My final thoughts on Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia are that it’s a really great graphic novel. The art is beautiful, the story amazing, and Wonder Woman is treated with the respect she deserves! Probably the best aspect of the piece (at least for those trying to jump into Wonder Woman but having no idea where to start) is that you don’t need to know anything about Wonder Woman to be able to pick this up and enjoy it! There’s humour and revenge and, truly, what the world needs is more Wonder Woman work like The Hiketeia!

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