Evolution is a natural part of life in Wonder Woman's latest adventure. Written by Stephanie Phillips and drawn by Mike Hawthorne, Wonder Woman: Evolution sees the Amazon warrior step out of her comfort zone when she comes across a foe who forces her to recognize her place in the cosmic tapestry of DC's Infinite Frontier. The eight-issue miniseries takes Wonder Woman out of this world and into the unknown, with strange beasts, new powers, and old enemies waiting beyond the horizon. Wonder Woman: Evolution #1 provides a strong launch for the hero and raises the stakes as she takes on her biggest task to date.
Wonder Woman: Evolution #1 opens in the near future with Diana fighting a horde of monsters. As Wonder Woman tears apart her enemies in an unknown realm, the action flashes back to Washington D.C., where the Silver Swan is holding guests hostage at the Museum of Natural History. Wonder Woman arrives to calm down her foe, but Swan reveals that she has given in to the nanites that empower her unique abilities. After chastising Diana for refusing to change with the times, Silver Swan soars into the sky with a small child and drops her. Naturally, Wonder Woman saves the girl, allowing Swan to escape. Later, Diana visits Superman to talk about how she struggles to blend in, asking the Man of Steel how he grapples with his powers. However, their conversation proves to be brief as Superman answers a summons on the other end of the world, just in time for Wonder Woman to get powered up and sucked through a vortex into the unknown.
Current Harley Quinn writer Stephanie Phillips leaves Gotham City behind for Wonder Woman: Evolution, charting a course into unexplored waters for the hero. Phillips immediately focuses on Diana's humanity, an element of her character that distinguishes Wonder Woman from her fellow Amazons. The emotional conflict of trying to fit in with humans, despite not being one of them, juxtaposes with a story that promises to power up Diana and make her even less "normal." This setup comes across particularly well when Wonder Woman speaks with Superman. Seeing the two of them talk about their powers vs. their humanity hammers home Wonder Woman's eventual "evolution," especially when they flex their superpowers by racing across an icy tundra. Anybody who dismisses DC's heroes as just being almighty Gods would do well to read this comic, as it does an exceptional job showing what makes each hero human.
Joining Phillips is artist Mike Hawthorne, whose recent work on Daredevil marked the end of a six-year stint at Marvel. Hawthorne is known for his mastery of anatomy and he does a great job giving characters distinct physical presences and auras. The sensational design of Silver Swan looks particularly cool, with bold wings that move with the fluidity of a living creature. Inker Adriano Di Benedetto is a great compliment to Hawthorne's pencils, giving the figures crisp edges and dynamic shadows that add tangible depth to the art. This faux-reality is further enhanced by the colors of Jordie Bellaire. Bellaire chooses to imbue Wonder Woman with soft, warm flesh tones that give her an inviting presence, which clashes against the harsh and unnatural colors of the book's opening and closing sequences.
Overall, Wonder Woman: Evolution is off to a strong start with this smart, character-driven debut. The story by Phillips implements elements rarely seen in Wonder Woman. Similarly, the art by Hawthorne, Di Benedetto, and Bellaire makes Wonder Woman feel simultaneously foreign and familiar, effectively capturing her inner crisis. As Wonder Woman gets ready for the massive Trial of the Amazons crossover event, isolated and accessible books like Wonder Woman: Evolution #1 show that there are ways to make DC's premiere heroes feel epic and important within the confines of a single comic.
KEEP READING: Wonder Woman Evolution Writer Challenges Diana With Some Tough Questions
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