When I was in middle school, I would come home every afternoon and watch Wonder Woman on the (at the time) Sci-Fi channel. Lynda Carter was/is amazing to me and I looked up to her and Wonder Woman. Outside of that memory and watching her on the Justice League animated TV series, I’ve realized I don’t know much about Wonder Woman or the ups and downs she has gone through in the past 70 years. Everyone knows her as the most iconic female superhero, but not many know anymore beyond that.
Reading Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine made me feel a little ashamed for declaring Wonder Woman my favorite superhero without even knowing her history. Tim Hanley does an amazing job of delving into Wonder Woman’s past and revealing every fail, rewrite, and flip flop her creators have put her through, leaving her in a limbo that seems will never end.
Before I started reading, I expected the book to be a regurgitation of Wonder Woman’s history. (Honestly, that would have been fine with me since I knew very little about her comics in the first place.) Instead, Wonder Woman Unbound tells not only Wonder Woman’s history, but also analyzes and examines her creators and their motives (was William Moulton Marston a voice for women or just a big horndog?), other comics (compared to Wonder Woman’s), the readers, feminism, and even the time periods (Golden Age, Silver Age, etc.) all comics went through. Lois Lane, Batgirl, and a few other female superheros (and villains) make an appearance to compare their struggles and achievements with Wonder Woman’s—there are major differences, especially during the Silver Age. There is even a section in the middle of the book filled with pictures of Wonder Woman (and other things) through the years.
Through his analysis, Hanley doesn’t really come to any conclusions, instead he presents all the facts to the readers and lets us decide. You can tell Hanley has a sincere interest in Wonder Woman and her history by looking at the amount of research and analysis he put into this book.
Reading this history book makes me sad for Wonder Woman. To see her go through so much only to be almost tossed to the side and treated as an afterthought is heartbreaking. Wonder Woman has so much to offer if someone would take the time to work with her—she definitely deserves it.
For someone who knows very little about comics and their history, this book is a great starting point. Wonder Woman Unbound is a perfect testament to Wonder Woman’s life. Hanley packs as much information into this book as possible rather than gloss over or ignore aspects of her history. I love this book and am grateful for Hanley’s thorough and extensive look into Wonder Woman and her curious history.