Comics Wednesday: Wonder Woman (Rebirth) #1

“I can’t find my way home.”

As you’ve probably heard DC Comics is giving its comic book line a good refresh which they have cleverly dubbed ‘Rebirth’. The ‘New 52’ period will probably be remembered as quite a mixed bag, so it’s understandable they want to turn a bright new (comic book) page. The main Wonder Woman title was especially in need of a good fresh-up and so they contacted Wonder Woman veteran Greg Rucka to pen a new story. A smart move cos the new series is off to a good start with this first issue.

The issue opens with Wonder Woman somewhere in an African jungle and she’s apparently looking for an audience with someone. ‘I will have the truth‘ our heroine boldly proclaims in the first panel, immediately asserting her special relationship with truth. On the other hand the truth seems to be eluding of late and so the needs help figuring things out. Just what is going on remains a mystery at this time though. In any case it doesn’t take long to realize she’s in hostile territory and she reluctantly fights her way through until she finds the one she’s looking for in the shocking last panel of the issue. Meanwhile Rucka sets up a second storyline which takes place separately but in the same region of Africa: Steve Trevor, now a seasoned soldier, is on a mission to find a warlord who’s been wreaking havoc in the area. Commanding Trevor is none other than Wonder Woman alumni Etta Candy, who seems to have graduated to an Amanda Waller-style hard-ass. Wonder Woman suddenly showing up in Trevor’s neighborhood is complicating an already delicate mission as Steve and Wonder Woman aren’t supposed to be in contact (details as to why remain vague in this issue).

WWcover01All in all there is not too much going on in this issue storywise: Wonder Woman is fussing through the jungle a bit and Steve Trevor is off on a mission and yet the story is immediately engaging. Clearly Greg Rucka has a good idea where he’s going with all this and it makes for a confident read even if we know very little about what is actually going on. Rucka knows his craft and the way he paces this issue is immediately engaging. No big information dump, no confusing setup. No we’re being eased into things. But there is never any doubt we’re in for a sprawling journey.

As you can tell, it is a good thing Greg Rucka is back on Wonder Woman. His last run (2003-2006) ended abruptly and clearly Greg wasn’t done with the character yet. This time around Rucka has big plans for this series: it is going to appear two times a month and will alternate between two timelines. This first issue kicks off the ‘year 10’ storyline in which we find Diana ten years into her career as Wonder Woman. Issue 2 (out July 13) will introduce the ‘year one’ storyline where a bright eyed Diana is just starting out her super heroine career. Judging by this first issue a lot is going to happen in these 10 years so we’re in for quite a journey. In interviews Rucka has stated he doesn’t want to dive into the Greek mythology aspects yet as it featured so heavily in the New 52 run, so I’m guessing he’s going for a more grounded story here and that is fine by me.

Interestingly enough Rucka starts with Diana going through a major identity crisis. It is true that Wonder Woman’s story has changed a lot in the last decade alone. In 2010 J. Michael Straczynski introduced a Wonder Woman roaming around in man’s world after the destruction of Paradise Island. A mere two years later in 2012 Brian Azzarello came to the stage with a radical different take in which Diana turns out to be a daughter of Zeus himself (the ‘made out of clay’ turned out to be lie here). Furthermore she takes up the mantle of God of War in Brian’s epic. When Meredith and David Finch took over, Wonder Woman become a bit more emotional. No, Wonder Woman has not exactly had a stable core over the last decades, and it’s a gutsy move for Rucka to address that. Too early too tell what he’s going to do with it (although it’s a good guess he’s not going to go full Grant Morrison on Wonder Woman’s history), but Wonder Woman’s world is going to get rocked between year one and year ten.

Liam Sharp is penciling this book and he employs a grounded, more realistic style here that gives the story a serious tone. Clearly he’s putting a lot of heart and a lot of work into drawing this title and the result is a sharp looking issue. Laura Martin’s coloring is quite dark and heavy lending extra drama to what is going on. All this makes for an issue that has weight to it, it feels like what is happening matters.

All in all Wonder Woman is off to a solid start, with an accessible and intriguing first issue. Looks to me like Rucka and Co. are gearing up for a journey worthy of Wonder Woman, so strap in!


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