Greg Rucka (Writer), Matthew Clark/Liam Sharp (Penciler), Sean Parsons (Inker), Jeremy Colwell/Laura Martin (Colourists), Jodi Wynne (Letterer) and Liam Sharp/Laura Martin (Cover)
June 8th, 2016
Disclaimer: This review is based on an advanced copy from the publisher and may contain spoilers.
I was excited when it was announced that Greg Rucka would return to Wonder Woman for DC’s Rebirth line. After ditching Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s run two years in and passing on Meredith and David Finch’s take, it’s been a while since I’ve read a Wonder Woman ongoing that I enjoyed (the digital firsts don’t count, but they are great). I read parts of Rucka’s previous run when I tried to get into superhero comics from the trades I accessed through the library. I loved Eyes of the Gorgon and Land of the Dead, but it was the graphic novel Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia that made me love the character as much as I did when she appeared in the Justice League animated series.
This comic needed to jump a lot of hurdles. I wasn’t a fan of Wonder Woman’s origin in the New 52 that ditched her clay beginnings for a godly father, Zeus. It felt like no one really remembered who Wonder Woman was at her core across the company-wide titles. She’s even gone through costume changes that made many of us raise an eyebrow (or two). The first issue addresses Wonder Woman pre-New 52 versus the Wonder Woman of the New 52. It knows the arena it’s playing in, creating a launching pad for a rebooted character (I’m sorry: “Course correction”). Who is the Wonder Woman that we’re getting? Is she the woman of clay? Do the Amazons rape sailors and sell their male offspring into slavery? Is Hippolyta a blond or a brunette? We don’t get any of these answers yet. What we do know is that there have been forces at work who’ve deceived Diana with these conflicting accounts of her life.
Rucka is using Rebirth to redefine what’s now canon in the current universe; it’s the basis for not just this issue, but also the first arc of the dual stories he’s telling with Nicola Scott and Liam Sharp. I really liked how this issue turned out because of that. It gives us a moment of contemplation for the character that’s also a great set up for one of the new teams. I liked Matthew Clark, Sean Parsons, and Jeremy Colwell’s contributions to the issue and their pages stood out like the one below.
I love the background’s transition from blue to purple to fit the reflective mood of Diana and later red for the when she realizes she’s been lied to. After the mirror-shattering moment above, Diana strips off her New 52 costume and dons the new digs she’ll be sporting during Rebirth, which has Liam Sharp with Laura Martin on colours tackling the last five pages. There is a lot more texture to Sharp’s art and colours that are rich as well as warm. I’m not completely sure yet if I’m a fan of the art style, but the change is definitely striking. Overall, I left the issue feeling great about reading Wonder Woman #1 when it comes out.
I feel that I should also address the larger concerns of the book’s creative team. I know that people are disappointed that a woman isn’t writing the series and the fact that there have been so few women to write Wonder Woman is just ridiculous (there have been few women writing at the Big Two, period, which is a larger problem to think about as well). I’m aware that I’ll probably be one of the few women in the sea of reviewers talking about this new #1, which carries some pressures with it, but supporting someone like Greg Rucka who writes Wonder Woman so well isn’t the same as ignoring the larger systemic issue. I hope once Rucka’s run ends, DC will give a talented female writer a shot at the most popular female superhero because we’ve had a ton of guys already. In the meantime, I’m excited to see what Rucka brings.