Wonder Woman can be a hard character to get to know. There’s a lot of wildly different interpretations of the character and, notoriously, some are written by people who are none too fond of her. But there are also a lot of great stories out there which can sell you on all the coolest aspects of her character.
Recently, I did an article about Wonder Woman and how she is so much more than all the misconceptions people have about her. I had a feeling if I was a non-Wonder Woman fan reading the article, I’d be thinking “yeah, that’s great and all, but where are these stories that show all these great things about her? And can I understand them if I’m not a fan?”
So this is a sort of guide to stories that are both accessible to people who would be totally unfamiliar with Wonder Woman and also fantastic in their own right, showing what a fascinating and unique character she is. So let’s dig in! Be sure to chime us and tell us your favorite Wonder Woman stories that didn’t make the list in the comments!
Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals
Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals is a paperback that collects the first arc of George Perez’s run on Wonder Woman. This is definitely one of the best introductions to Wonder Woman there is. It covers her complete origin- from the birth of the Amazons to her journey from her island of Themyscira to our world. It also showcases one of her most epic battles- in this book, Diana takes on literal Gods, going toe to toe with Ares, the God of War for the fate of the world. She resolves his conflict in a unique way that shows there is so much more to her and her powers than brute force.
George Perez’s beautiful, detailed art really lets the Grecian world of the Amazons shine- this is a story steeped in mythology and lore. However, I should warn that the origin of the Amazons involves rape- it’s not graphic, but it’s there.
Really, George Perez’s entire run on Wonder Woman’s title is worth checking out. A good chunk of it is collected in the Wonder Woman by George Perez Omnibus available on Amazon. You can also find the first paperback there and you can find Perez's entire run (spanning from Wonder Woman #1 to Wonder Woman #62) on Comixology.
Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia
The Hiketeia by Greg Rucka is a completely accessible one-shot and is essentially a Greek tragedy starring Wonder Woman. In it, we see Diana square off against Batman over the fate of a girl she is bound to through ritual. We see Diana torn between her beliefs and her duty, struggling against fate-and it’s all deliciously dramatic, showcasing both Wonder Woman’s strength of character and the fact that sometimes, she doesn’t have all the answers, as much as she wishes she did. You can find The Hiketeia on Amazon and DC Comics.com.
JLA: League of One
You can’t get more epic that Wonder Woman versus a dragon…unless you’re talking Wonder Woman vs the rest of the Justice League. JLA: League of One by Christopher Moeller is a one-shot story that ups the ante by featuring both. In order to keep a prophecy from coming true, Wonder Woman must defeat her friends and face a dragon on her own. This book has an incredibly lovely painted style and showcases Wonder Woman’s conviction and devotion to the truth excellently.
The book can be found on Amazon.
Wonder Woman #170: A Day in the Life
This is a one-shot in the truest sense- it’s a single issue of Wonder Woman by Phil Jimenez, but it’s incredibly easy to understand on its own. The premise of the issue is that Lois Lane is interviewing Wonder Woman and it does a good job of showing us what makes the most prominent First Ladies of DC Comics so great. Lois is not sure what to make of Wonder Woman, both a little insecure her close friendship with Superman and confused about all the contradictions she embodies.
But over the course of the issue, Lois comes to understand and appreciate her. This story really showcases how Wonder Woman isn’t just here to fight monsters- she wants to change the world on a societal level as well. We see her engaging in charity work, trying to spread the message of peace and grappling with weighty political issues. Truly, Wonder Woman has a unique approach to being a superhero. This issue is collected in Wonder Woman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told and also available on Comixology and other venues.
JLA: Golden Perfect
This Justice League story by Joe Kelly is a fantastic arc focused on Wonder Woman. In the story, Wonder Woman, grieving the death of her mother, loses her faith in the lasso of truth when faced with an overwhelming contradiction. This is a great story because it shows that even Wonder Woman can make mistakes and waver and when she does, it has massive consequences.
With every hero, it’s important to see how they handle it when they screw up, and Wonder Woman faces her mistakes head on. Simultaneously, the arc also shows how one-of-a-kind and huge Diana’s power of commanding the truth is- being able to control the truth is a big deal and basically the coolest.
JLA: Golden Perfect can be found on Amazon.
Wonder Woman: Down to Earth
This graphic novel collects the introductory arc to Greg Rucka’s run on the Wonder Woman title. Greg Rucka’s take on Wonder Woman is honestly one of my favorites, which is why I’m super pleased he’s going to be returning to her title soon. He does a fantastic job showcasing Diana’s connection to mythology as well as what makes her a great hero.
In this arc, Wonder Woman publishes a book where she talks about her political and social views, which causes a lot of uproar. However, Diana is happy because it is her intention to prompt serious discussion. But some villians are ready to take advantage of the controversy and Diana finds herself both coming to blows with an old friend and meeting a new enemy.
This arc does a great job delving into Diana’s job as a diplomat and ambassador of Themyscira and well as her importance as a social and political figure. It also showcases her loyalty to her friends and compassion for her enemies as she struggles to save a former friend manipulated into villainy. Rucka’s modernized take on Greek Gods is also a treat that should not be missed. Everything here is pretty easy to understand for first time readers, so there’s nothing stopping anyone from diving right in!
Down to Earth can be found on Amazon. Greg Rucka's entire run on Wonder Woman can be found on Comixology, spanning from issue #195 to #226.
Wonder Woman: Eyes of the Gorgon
In this paperback, Greg Rucka’s take on Wonder Woman continues and we are treated to one of the greatest battles in Wonder Woman history: Wonder Woman vs Medusa! The stakes couldn’t be higher too- Wonder Woman is challenged on national television with Medusa threatening to turn the entire world watching to stone if she loses. Diana has a personal take in the issue, having lost a friend to Medusa.
The battle that ensues is brutal and breathtaking and the sacrifice that Diana ultimately makes shows her incredible bravery, badassery and utter devotion to protecting humanity. If any fight sells you on how great Wonder Woman is, this one will. While I’d definitely recommend reading Down to Earth before reading this, it is completely possible to understand it on its own- I first read it in my school library and was able to follow along with no background.
Eyes of the Gorgon can be found on Amazon.
Wonder Woman: The Circle
Wonder Woman: The Circle is a good introduction to Gail Simone’s run on Wonder Woman. It contains a brief retelling of Wonder Woman’s origin, but also hits some new notes by exploring some of the internal conflict the Amazons had during her birth. This is not a perfect arc- some elements, like an Amazon getting “addled’ over wanting a baby, rub me the wrong way- but it does hit some very nice characterization notes for Diana and is a very fun, accessible read.
We see Diana gaining some talking gorilla sidekicks, which is just awesome no matter how you slice it, and she also fights to defend her homeland and her very right to exist. There’s also a great moment that shows how absolutely devastating the lasso of truth can be to enemies Diana faces down with it.
The Circle can be found on Amazon.
Wonder Woman: Expatriate
This is another short arc from Gail Simone’s Wonder Woman run, which shows Diana getting involved in an alien conflict and running into a member of the Green Lantern corps. It contains one of those moments that I often show people to demonstrate who Diana is as a character and what makes her great- even after having the ever-loving hell beaten out of her, Diana still extends her hand to her enemy. It’s a very powerful moment.
The Expatriate arc runs from issue 18 to 19 of Wonder Woman (volume 3) and the arc is collected in the trade paperback Wonder Woman: Contagion, which can be found on Amazon.
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman
If you ever want to see how versatile a character Diana is and how many awesome ways she can be interpreted, Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman is a good start. This comic is a collection of one-shot stories by a ton of different writers and artists, all featuring their interpretations of Wonder Woman. Not every story is great, naturally, but a lot of them are pretty good. You can see Diana as a rocker reaching out to little girls or engaging in a DDR battle in a toga. There’s tons of cool different art styles too. It just shows what a flexible character Wonder Woman is.
Sensation Comics is collected on Amazon.
The Legend of Wonder Woman
Renae De Liz’s The Legend of Wonder Woman is one of your best options for a modernized-take on a Wonder Woman who comes to our world during World War II, much like she did in the first comics ever written about her.
Also, the art is super pretty:
The book follows Diana growing up on Themyscira, struggling to see the outside world and training in secret and an unknown threat slowly creeps towards her Island. Then the political turmoil that’s been brewing among the Amazons comes to a head and Diana finds herself stepping up to be their champion and fighting to save an innocent man.
She ends up stranded in “Man’s World” and unable to get back home or discover what happened to her homeland- meanwhile a mysterious foe named the “Duke of Deception” is taking advantage of the chaos of World War II to kill and confuse the troops and Diana is all that can stop him.
Though De Liz’s Wonder Woman mythology from Wonder Woman I’m used to, it’s a really solid alternate take. Diana’s struggle to balance the two worlds she is now a part of is fascinating and a big highlight of the series is the reinvention of Wonder Woman’s lovable partner-in-crimefighting, Etta Candy. The interaction between the two of them is bursting with fun and a joy to read. The story is also totally stand-alone, so it’s accessible to any fan.
The Legend of Wonder Woman is a digital only series and can be found on Comixology.
The other best option for a stand-alone World War II Wonder Woman is Marguerite Bennett’s interesting take on her in DC Bombshells, a comic which depicts a 1940’s era world where none of the dude superheroes exist- just the ladies.
While there are some elements of Bennett’s take on the Amazons that rub me the wrong way (such a Wonder Woman’s mom being willing to execute someone with little provocation), the Amazons are still represented as ultimately well intentioned people, and Bennett’s characterization of Diana is spot on, showing a strong but merciful woman who sticks to her convictions. Also, that outfit is really cute. DC Bombshells is available on Amazon and Comixology.