Review By Stephen Clark
A spoiler-free review
Art and writing by Daniel Warren Johnson, Colors by Mike Spicer, Letters by Rus Wooton
An Old Character Faces A New World
Rarely do I end up straying from the indie comics wall at my local comic shop. Not because I dislike superheroes. Plenty of the stories and characters in indie books are powered or otherwise fantastical. After having read Marvel and DC stories from childhood to adulthood, I know the mainstay superhero characters and their worlds well and have been through a lot with them already.
It’s not them. It’s me who wants to see other people.
Daniel Warren Johnson has done some pretty interesting takes on big name characters already with his Old Man Skywalker comic and has definitely had my attention with the energetic art and storytelling in his series Extremity and Murder Falcon from Image. So, this book carried the same interest that Superman: American Alien had. Something different from a creator I knew.
The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
This limited series finds Diana waking to a world ruined by humanity a generation ago. Like Diana, we have no idea of the events leading to this or how the world that we’ve found ourselves in works. Put into stasis, it would seem that someone knew those left alive would need a protector to defend them from the world those before them created. And Diana is more than up to the task, even in a partially de-powered state.
Monsters roam the wastelands between human settlements, people being lost to them every day while trying to scrounge resources. We enter one of these cobbled together cities of survivors and are introduced to the current status quo.
A Hero We Need, Not The One We Deserve
Left to its own devices, humanity has split itself into tribes, divided by location and whatever other arbitrary rules suited those doing the dividing. Faced with people who have good inside them bowing to the whims of those who would take power for themselves and abuse others, Diana stands up to protect those who can’t defend themselves.
This is one of the best parts of the story being told. For me, DC heroes shine their best being the paragons they are. Those who protect others because they have the power to and can’t NOT protect them. So many super stories are direct allegories for real events and, intended or not, I see real life in this. A world divided, clinging to what’s left of a once rich planet, ruled by cruel men and in need of a reminder that everyone is worthy of compassion and love. Diana brings her love for the imperfections in humanity to a world even further gone than it was when she and the Justice League guarded it.
Every Frame A Painting
From meaningful closeup to action packed fights, the art of this series is absolutely gorgeous. Daniel Warren Johnson brings the strong style he’s known for in full and it’s a goddamn joy. Featured in the initial previews of the series, the panel below shows Diana holding back monsters that, in the past, she might have been able to take down with a single blow. The strength of the opposing fighters is felt in full.
Not to ever be outshone, frequent DWJ collaborator Mike Spicer brings fantastic colors to the table. Adding an ambience and heft to the art that drove home the feel of scenes perfectly and ensuring that this crumbling world felt fully lived in and tangible.
From this first book of the four part series, this is already one of my favorite comic runs I’ve ever experienced and I can’t wait to get to experience the rest of it.
I couldn’t recommend this more. Even if you’re a digital comics person, pick up a physical copy so you can easily lend it out to people because I promise you’ll want to share this one.
Daniel Warren Johnson has been an absolute powerhouse of an artist and writer. To keep up with his work, follow him on Twitter @danielwarrenart
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