November 21, 2020

Review: Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed

Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed by Laurie Halse Anderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I did like this, but I didn't think it was outstanding.

This is a young, inexperienced Wonder Woman reimagined for our era. Diana of Themyscira is celebrating her 16th "born day" when word comes that people have broken through the magical shield barrier separating the island from the outside world. (There are sometimes "holes" in the barrier that have to be fixed, and when outsiders come through them and see the Amazons, they are given a "tea of forgetting" and sent on their way.) This time, there is a storm outside, and refugees caught in it crying for help, and Diana cannot stand by and let them drown. She dives into the ocean to save them, and while she is trying to pull the rafts full of people to safety the barrier is fixed and the island removed from the spot where it met our world--and Diana is left behind. (And neither General Antiope or her mother come after her? This seems a bit...unlikely, although Diana explains later that the island and its surrounding waters, due to the magical barrier, floats interdimensionally from place to place.)

She ends up in a refugee camp on a Greek island. A couple of United Nations aid workers notice her incredible facility with languages, and before long she's on her way to New York on a student visa, where she's placed with a Polish family (in the borough of Queens, which name Diana approves of). The family's daughter's name is Raissa, and Raissa works with other neighborhood groups to feed the local schoolchildren lunch during the summer. Raissa recruits Diana to help her, and gradually the two become friends. 

This is the story of Diana Prince finding her way and her place in a strange world. Along the way, the author deals with the plight of refugees and gentrification, and creates a rather unpleasant subplot of child sex trafficking. At first Diana, thinking she must leave the past behind, puts aside her Lasso of Truth and her gold bracelets, but later on, as she comes to understand the good she can do here as an Amazon, she takes them up again. The book ends with Diana still vowing to find Themyscira again, but until then, she has a home in "the Outside."

This presents a fresh view of Wonder Woman, awkward and unsure of herself and struggling to find her place in the world. The only reason I'm not rating it higher is because the art is just so-so. In particular, the artist doesn't seem to be very good with faces. But this graphic novel has a nice storyline, and its target audience should love it. 

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