Despite her fame as an iconic superhero, Wonder Woman has gone through some tumultuous times.

“Fans today tend to have a very iconic but generic concept of Wonder Woman, a combination of nostalgia for the 1970s TV show and vague associations with feminism.”

page 11

In a no-holds-barred history of the heroine, Wonder Woman’s’ every aspect is examined, from her badass embodiment of female empowerment (with a hint of bondage queen) in the Golden Age, to her totally mod, flirty and de-powered role as Diana Prince in the Silver Age.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

I swear, the whole time I was reading this book, I was singing, “In her satin tights, fighting for your rights, and the old red white and bluuueee….”

Regardless, Wonder Woman has got to be the coolest neglected superhero ever. In terms of fame and recognition, she matches Superman, Batman and Spiderman. And yet, most people know very little about her stories.

Note: We received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Wonder Woman Unbound comes out April 1st, from Chicago Review Press.

Rating (4 stars)

I’ve read a number of non-fiction books that explore the history of a comic superhero(es). I am not an avid reader of comics ( *mumble* …have trouble reading pictures…  ), but I love the vivid characters and storylines comics create.

Wonder Woman is an unusual character. Created by a psychologist with his own agenda, Wonder Woman can be hard to understand but Hanley balances an analysis of her history by comparing Wonder Woman to her contemporaries.

Hanley’s approach in Wonder Woman Unbound clearly defines what makes Wonder Woman unique among all the superheroes. And if you heard about Wonder Woman’s ties to bondage… well, they’re true, but perhaps not in the way you expected them to be.

If there is a way to feed my superhero obsession outside of the comics, believe me, I’ve found it, even if it means reading wikipedia entries until two in the morning. I have to say, reading a well-crafted history like Wonder Woman Unbound is a healthy way to fuel my superhero obsession.

Hanley kept my attention riveted throughout the Golden Age and much of the Silver Age. However, as he started to cover the later years, I felt like the quality slipped just a tad, dropping this down to 4 stars. The later chapters seemed rushed, and I could almost hear him saying as he wrote, “Enough with this book! I’m so sick of Wonder Woman!”

Even if this was the way he felt, I certainly never tired of reading about Wonder Woman— her story is just too fascinating.