Wonder Woman #2
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Nicola Scott
Colourist: Romulo Fajardo, Jr
Publisher: DC Comics
A review by Stephanie Pouliotte
With heated controversy surrounding the recent choice of writers on the Wonder Woman movie, I think more scrutiny will be headed Greg Rucka’s way for his Wonder Woman Rebirth comics. The choice of an all-male writing staff for the Amazonian’s feature film has many worried that DC is digging in their heels and may miss the mark on revamping Wonder Woman’s image in the cinematic DCU. Though gender has little to do with ones talent, it would be disingenuous to say that a history of men writing female characters hasn’t contributed to entrenched stereotypes and created barriers for multifaceted strong female leads.
Fans will look to Rucka’s current run seeking either reassurance or vindication and much of the choices he makes will shape our expectations for Wonder Woman going forward. The character has largely been written by men in the past and fans are eager to see a different perspective, one that feels more true to the character and her origins. Rucka may be an acclaimed veteran of the franchise, and a dude, but his first two issues prove that he is wholly committed to shattering our assumptions of Wonder Woman. Bringing to light the truth about who she is and what she represents is the driving force of the series and propels Diana on her quest to dispel the deceitful machinations that surround her.
– Greg Rucka
Wonder Woman #2 is the first issue of Year One, the companion series to Rucka and Sharp’s The Lies storyline. Diana has yet to leave Themyscira and while her sisters gaze at the stars, Diana watches the horizon. Though she’s happy with her life, she still wishes to see what lies beyond their shore, to experience the world her sisters escaped so long ago. The story weaves between Diana and Steve Trevor, who is doing basic training with his close friend Nick. Rucka does an excellent job of seamlessly moving between the two storylines, which progress over the course of a few years, until they converge at the end.
As the introductory issue to Year One, Rucka takes the time to set up these two characters, but there is little tension to really give the story any bite. Nick is actually the one who has the most poignant moment in the story, one that was set up painstakingly well. This may be at the expense of Steve Trevor, who really just comes off as an all-around nice guy, with little personality beyond that. That being said, there are pretty strong parallels made between Diana and Steve; perhaps the strongest being that even though he’s in the army, he watches life from the sidelines, he is bearing witness, something Diana mentions as well. Except she doesn’t simply want to watch life, she wants to experience it.
The story was still a slow burn for me as I was eager to get some action after the first two issues that were also largely introductory. Rucka could have played up Diana’s conflicting emotions about being unfulfilled, perhaps even leading to an altercation or at least some kind of emotional release. They allude to a higher calling she may face, but other than some wistful staring out into the ocean, there isn’t much drive on Diana’s part to break out of her mold just yet. But we know that is to come. You still get a good glimpse into her character, the strong, loyal and caring Amazon princess; she even has a few female lovers.
I’m more interested in how this storyline will run parallel to The Lies and how much of a connection there is between the events of both narratives. After all, The Lies is all about Wonder Woman struggling against the falsehood of her past selves, unsure about her origins and what is real; and then here we are reading Year One. Is this how it really happened? Or is it just another false flag, another part of the illusion? One of the most interesting sequences in this issue is when Diana is bitten by a venomous snake living in the hollow of a dead tree, a tree she was sure hadn’t been there before and was nowhere to be seen when she was found unconscious in the grass. The incident is treated almost as a non-event afterwards, Diana recovers and the story moves on, but what really happened to her? Was this the beginning of the web of deceit that ensnares her in the other storyline?
I loved Nicola Scott’s depiction of Diana. Her features are much more Mediterranean than her previous incarnations, with an aquiline nose and longer face, she definitely looks the part of an Amazon princess. The panel layout and heavy use of white space was very distracting however, I fear that it will break up the flow when more action heavy sequences are introduced. Romulo Fajardo, Jr’s colouring accented the atmosphere and mood of each scene beautifully, especially those on Themyscira.
Buy It! You may be worried about the fate of Wonder Woman in the films with an all-male writing team, but if Rucka’s run is any indication of the direction DC is taking, I wouldn’t lose all hope. Who better to shatter this image of the boy’s club than a character who literally comes from a girl’s club (or island rather)? A character that, despite the merited distrust her sisters share for men, is ready to bridge the gap and start anew. Wonder Woman #2 plants the seeds of Diana’s restlessness and yearning for a calling she has yet to answer, bringing her to a climax as she finds herself face to face with an honest man reaching out to her for help. They are building up to an important moment in Wonder Woman’s origin story, the moment she leaves home, the moment she realizes there is greater strength in facing adversity than in secluding herself away from it. No matter the injustices of the past, to allow them to control her is but another lie holding her back. The past need not repeat itself; the truth is that the only way to go is forward.