You might have heard about a little indie movie that came out this summer. It was the latest in a superhero franchise and the beginning of viewers expecting more from their superheroes. Not only did Wonder Woman own the box office, but she spurred millions of women (and men) into fighting for what’s right.
Growing up, I never thought much about who Wonder Woman was as a character. In the same way I knew Superman was faster than a speeding bullet, I’d really only heard of Wonder Woman’s lasso, bracelets, and invisible plane. I never put any effort into reading more about the character beyond her superhero abilities and signature weapons. Since seeing the movie, I’ve sought out other stories on Diana Prince.
Luckily, I had some content waiting for me to read. Late last year, Random House announced they will be publishing a new series: DC Icons. The series will be written by four different YA authors telling stories about Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, and Catwoman. Each book will center around the superheroes as teenagers and I am pumped for it. I got an advanced copy of Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman Warbringer, just waiting for me to crack it open.
Warbringer is an origin story, but it is not the same origin story from the movie released earlier this year. Bardugo’s Diana is younger and is first exposed to the world of men in the modern day by way of a girl whose boat is destroyed off the coast of Themyscira. She feels like an outsider, the only woman on the island born there and the only one who didn’t die in battle to earn their place among the Amazons. Warbringer also gives us a fuller picture of Diana’s relationship with her mother and day to day life on Themyscira.
Diana’s grit and determination drives this plot. From the beginning, we see her determined to win a race on Themyscira. During the race, Diana sees a ship from the human world sink and decides to save a drowning girl despite the repercussions it may cause to the Amazons. She soon realizes that bringing a human, Alia Keralis, to the island will not only get her banished, but is also causing the island itself to react. As earthquakes and storms occur and the immortal warriors start becoming deathly ill, she sets out to right her wrong.
Turns out it wasn’t just bringing a human to Themyscira that caused trouble, it was Alia herself. Alia Keralis is the daughter of two scientific geniuses and a descendant of the first warbringer, Helen of Troy. This family history means Alia breeds contention in crowds and spurs anger and conflict just by existing. Diana must get Alia to Helen’s final resting place in Greece to bring the warbringer line to an end. Diana and Alia land in NYC first which causes no small amount of confusion and investigation into what exactly this world looks like. More than seeing men for the first time, Diana is captivated by cell phones and candy (same, girl, same).