I’m going to admit this upfront: after reading the first Rebirth-era Wonder Woman trade, I still don’t know what to think about this book.
Wonder Woman has had myriad origin stories over the years, and Rucka takes on the task of addressing their discrepancies. His Diana realizes that her recollection of her own history has been shifting. She sets out to separate the truth from the lies; in doing so, she realizes that she can no longer find her way to Themyscara. This sends her down the path of helping Barbara Minerva escape her Cheetah curse in exchange for help locating her home.
Those beats work well on their own, but the pacing from one to the next is where my questions about this series begin. They frame a deconstruction of Diana’s relationship with Steve Trevor that becomes the focus of this story and has significant implications for what comes next. But in a way, it feels like the book hangs Wonder Woman’s identity on her relationship with Steve. I can’t imagine that that is Rucka’s endgame, but until I have a better understanding of where he’s going with their relationship—as well as other elements of this arc that call Diana’s personal agency in her own actions into question—it is going to be hard for me to buy into what is going on.
Wonder Woman boasts richly detailed, lush art from Liam Sharp. His environments are dense and dark and feel dangerous. There’s a foreboding in his line work—and Laura Martin’s deep, atmospheric colors reinforce this. This is one of those books that illustrates how much expert coloring can elevate a title. The one thing that stood out to me as the art working against itself is that figures feel heavy. Action sequences look like gravity has been turned up, leaving characters looking posed. There are sequences when more fluid motion would have been beneficial to Wonder Woman’s action.
I want to like Wonder Woman. And I like certain things about it. But one trade in, I don’t know if the whole will be greater than the sum of its parts. I trust Greg Rucka to deliver—and some of the concerns I have would be anathema to what I know about and have read of Rucka’s work. I can’t recommend a book on good faith alone, but I do think that my own hesitations fail to constitute a reason to avoid the book. Flip through a copy. Give it a try if you’re curious and feel like seeing what’s going on. Just know that you’re not going to get the typical Rebirth experience of celebrating history. History is a threat here, and it is hard to tell how that will shake out for Wonder Woman going forward.
- Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: The LIes (#1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, Wonder Woman Rebirth #1)
Writer: Greg Rucka | Pencillers: Liam Sharpe, Matthew Clark | Inkers: Liam Sharpe, Sean Parsons | Colorists: Laura Martin, Jeremy Colwell | Letterer: Jodi Wynne | Covers: Liam Sharpe, Laura Martin