Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1)

29749085Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Category: Comic Books, YA
Pages: 384
Publication Date: August 29th, 2017

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Wonder woman: Warbringer brings the comic’s superhero to the book realm. Diana must embark on an adventure to save her family, a girl she just met, and possibly the world.

“Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.”

For being a Wonder Woman book, this book does not focus on Diana much. Most of the book is based on the original character, Alia. The idea of seeing Wonder Woman through someone else’s eyes is a great idea but that character has to be interesting too. Which Alia is lacking in that as well.

The book starts out solely from Diana’s point of view and there is some really good base for her character set here. But once it switches to alternating between her point of view and Alia’s, any character development or growth on Diana’s part seems to stop and everything switches to Alia who, frankly, is just another YA heroine.

An argument could be made that anyone who reads this likely already knows who Diana is and doesn’t need much setup for her character and that’s probably true. Someone that is more experienced with Wonder Woman stories might not be as interested in going through the motions of setting up a character that they already know. However, the title is Wonder Woman: Warbringer, not Alia: Warbringer. Obviously it is necessary that other characters in the book are given some attention and development but not at the expense of almost completely taking the focus off the main character. It got to a point that Diana herself felt like little more than a plot device at times.

The quest that they go on is very reminiscent of Percy Jackson. You have a super powered group, Greek myths, and a quest to succeed. Not a bad thing, but it felt eerily similar.

The concept of the Warbringer being based on the story of Helen of Troy is probably the biggest highlight.

The Warbringer is a human born once every generation or so that simply by existing sparks war. This generation, the Warbringer is Alia Keralis. It was a little strange at first that someone who is supposed to be the catalyst for so much war is one of the heroes of the story and has a very strong desire to stop war. However, the concept of the Warbringer is rooted in Helen of Troy who did not seek out war but simply by being who she was, wars started around her so it was a good parallel to the ancient story.

Unfortunately, many of the problems that are supposedly happening because a Warbringer exists are absent.

There is mention of the army being in New York City at just about every corner. There is mention of tensions rising between nations and the world being on the brink of war. However there is never, even the tiniest mention of how these things got started. Okay, a Warbringer exists somewhere in the world and this magically raises everyone’s temper. But what exactly happened that sparked a potential World War III? Nothing is ever said about this. It happens in the background and is ignored even though it is supposed to be a direct consequence of a Warbringer.

And did we forget to mention a bad guy? That’s okay because the book seemed to as well. Which no decent bad guy, is a sin all into itself. And it’s not that there is not a bad guy. There are bad guys in the book, but they basically non-existent. This book focuses more on Diana and Alia talking about life. Someone is out there shooting at Alia, someone blew up her boat but we never, ever see who they are. They never show their face. There is a reveal at the end for another bad guy but it is clear that this person/group is very separate from the people trying to kill Alia.

In some ways it seemed like this book was just trying to do too much. It is less than 400 pages and is a fast paced book that tried to juggle setting up 4 original main characters (Alia, her brother, and her friends) as well as set up two separate romantic relationships along with a twisty plot of bad guys (one of whom made sense, the other, as mentioned, was just there in the shadows). That is a lot of stuff to cover and it really was not handled very well.

Several times it seemed like the story was put on pause in order to try and establish or grow relationships between characters. On one hand, this is fine because characters and their relationships are a huge part of any story. At the same time though, the story is usually better served if this development can go on simultaneously with the plot rather than having to pause the story to sit around and do silly things (like go to a super fancy YA-trope-y ball, or play Truth with Diana’s lasso of truth….you know, because that totally seems like something that Wonder Woman would go for…).

The focus of this book was just way off. Rather than focusing on the title character, the book focused on an original character who just doesn’t really stand out. Even in that, rather than focusing on the effects of the existence of someone “fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery” the book took too much time to setup too many relationships. Honestly, it might have been better had the quest been undertaken only by Alia and Diana and possibly Jason rather than having extraneous characters that took up space that could have gone to more meaningful subjects.

Greg’s Thoughts

Wonder Woman is a fantastic character which the movie that came out a few months ago proved. She can be awesome and charming. She can be a fighter but a smooth talker at the same time. While not always thinking ahead, she is one of the great superheroes of our generation.

While I won’t say this book didn’t do her justice, it didn’t show who she was as a character either. She was very one dimensional and being the title character, did not seem to grow.

I am interested that DC is going to be putting out more superhero books and hopefully they take a step up from this one



Dani’s 2¢

I hear a lot that this book is supposed to demonstrate the power of female friendships. I just don’t see it. I honestly did not feel any chemistry between any of the characters.

The movie had me thinking that everything Wonder Woman would be gold and I really enjoyed Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology. More than anything, I am just really disappointed with this book. The writing was exponentially better in the duology  (I haven’t read the series that series is a spinoff of so I can’t speak for it) and explores its themes in a much deeper way than Wonder Woman: Warbringer did.



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