Wonder Woman: Paradise Found (2023 Edition)
Writer and Lead Penciller: Phil Jimenez
Additional Pencillers: Travis Moore, Brandon Badeaux
Inkers: Andy Lanning, Lary Stucker, Marlo Alquiza, Kevin Conrad, Jose Marzan Jr.
Color Artists: Patricia Mulvihill, and Tom McCraw with Heroic Age
Reviewed by Steve J. Ray
Published by DC Comics – ISBN Published by DC Comics – ISBN 9781779524379
Last month I had the great fortune and privilege of reviewing the all-new version of Paradise Lost, now the great folks at Penguin Random House have been kind enough to send me the equally amazing follow-up collection, Wonder Woman: Paradise Found (2023 Edition).
Just like its predecessor, this great book collects a seminal arc by Phil Jimenez. It recounts one of the greatest Wonder Woman sagas of all time, as well as being one of the inspirations behind the forthcoming Paradise Lost Warner Bros. TV project.
Here’s the book synopsis from the Penguin Random House Website:
First and foremost, this is a book written and penciled by Phil Jimenez. This is an extreme positive, in and of itself. The rest is pure gravy. We also have guest pencils by Brandon Badeaux and a very young Travis Moore. Now, anyone who knows me at all knows how much I love Travis’ work. To my mind, he’s one the best artists working in comics today. Seeing his early work here was wonderful. Even though he was clearly new to the game at this point, you could already see the makings of a great artist in these early pages.
This is a comic to really sink your teeth into. Most of today’s comics hardly give you anything to read, while this book’s fairly word heavy, by comparison. To me, this is a plus as I feel like I’m getting more entertainment for my money. Don’t worry, though. This isn’t 90s/90s Claremont X-Men, but there’s still more text here than you may be used to.
Comics fans know that every now and then, a big cosmic event comes and takes over the stories going on in your favorite books. Sometimes this can be a nightmare, as whatever ongoing plot threads and character arcs going on are sometimes cast aside, or even completely ignored for the event’s sake.
The end of 2002 and the beginning of 2003 saw DC publishing the alien invasion epic, “Our Worlds At War, and, of course, as one of the publisher’s flagship characters, Wonder Woman had to be involved. Phil Jimenez, rather than ignore the amazing work leading into the book and that would follow after the crossover, deftly weaved his narrative and that of the saga together, almost seamlessly. You will not need to track down the many OWaW collections to understand or love this book. I fact, if I hadn’t mentioned it you may never even have noticed.
What this means is that within this epic graphic novel, we get gods, aliens, war, terror, death, tragedy, and more action than a summer of blockbusters. This book clearly inspired the now legendary Snyder cut of Justice League, but there’s so much Amazon Lore, DC characterization, history, and world-building going on too that all fans, old or new, will pick up a book that will thrill and entertain them from cover to cover.
Think about it! A new Cheetah, the second Silver Swan (what a shock that was!), Imperiex, Darkseid, Circe, The Joker, and Lex Luthor feature as the villains of the piece. Then we get stellar appearances from Superman, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, Cassie (Wonder Girl) Sandsmark, Tempest, Jade, Donna Troy, Artemis, The Titans… and the list goes on.
Are you kidding me? Reading this book was a complete blast. Yes, I was viewing it through nostalgia-tinted sunglasses, but I’ve re-read newer stories that have aged far worse than these ones. This is vintage comic book entertainment and the most fun you can legally have for 20 bucks.
Historically, this saga clearly shows when Phil Jimenez stepped out of George Pérez’s shadow and proved that he was now a creative talent as rounded and as brilliant as his mentor could have hoped he would ever become. That’s about the highest praise I can give.
The only thing that could be better than buying yourself a copy of this gorgeous new edition of Wonder Woman: Paradise Found would be to get it at the same time as you pick up Paradise Lost. This is vintage, high-octane comics entertainment; but with heart, soul, character, tragedy, and true depth. We see Superman cry, get a tribute to the fallen from 9/11, and a true reminder of just how powerful comics can be.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment. Review Copy Courtesy of Penguin Random House.