Wonder Woman #4: Women of Colour, Raise Your Hands!

Wonder Woman #4: Women of Colour, Raise Your Hands!

Wonder Woman #4 Greg Rucka (Writer), Nicola Scott (Artist), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (Colourist), and Jodi Wynne (Letterer). DC Comics August 10th, 2016 Disclaimer: This review is based on an advanced copy from DC Comics and contains spoilers. I almost cried. Pretty impressive given that it's only issue two of the "Year One" story arc, and

Wonder Woman #4Greg Rucka (Writer). Nicola Scott (Artist). Romulo Fajardo Jr. (Colourist). Jodi Wynne (Letterer). DC Comics. August 10th, 2016. Cover.

Greg Rucka (Writer), Nicola Scott (Artist), Romulo Fajardo Jr. (Colourist), and Jodi Wynne (Letterer).
DC Comics
August 10th, 2016

Disclaimer: This review is based on an advanced copy from DC Comics and contains spoilers.

I almost cried. Pretty impressive given that it’s only issue two of the “Year One” story arc, and this is my return to reading Wonder Woman on a monthly basis (or biweekly, in this case). Wonder Woman #4 started off well when I saw the diverse council meeting happening on the second page.

Greg Rucka (Writer). Nicola Scott (Artist). Romulo Fajardo Jr. (Colourist). Jodi Wynne (Letterer). DC Comics. August 10th, 2016.

There are two women of colour at the table: Philippus, who is black (and Themyscira’s general), and Areto, who is South Asian. There’s also Castalia, who’s chubby and wearing a scarf, which adds kinship for the hijabi readers even if she’s not necessarily Muslim. This is a big deal, because not long ago, I wondered whether we’d see women of colour play a significant role in the Wonder Woman movie after seeing the trailer. Wonder Woman is a feminist, but she represents one kind of woman, while feminism is supposed to represent all kinds, and it’s pretty cool that this comic is doing that.

The issue takes up right after #2 with the Amazons investigating the male Navy SEALs who’ve crashed onto their island, looking through their things, tending to their dead, and healing the hurt Steve, the sole survivor. The council is basically debating what this means (if they got to Themyscira because the gods allowed it) and what they should do about it (and are they here to harm or are they here by fate). The time taken to show these women discussing and debating made this an enjoyable read. This is politics–their politics–and by getting a glimpse into the room where it happens, we get a look into who the Amazons are. How do they deal with outsiders? Notably, the comic’s second panel shows them cleaning and wrapping the dead Americans. How you treat a fallen enemy (or in this case, strangers) determines who you are, and the care the Amazons show reveals them to be practitioners of peace.

With the council’s decision to escort Steve home, they agree that a competition will determine which Amazon will take up the task, but also forfeit her immortality and access to Paradise Island. A lot of Wonder Woman origin stories have Diana sneaking into the competition after being banned from participating by her mother. It makes sense, given how much Hippolyta wanted a child and was afraid of losing her, but in this iteration, she gives Diana a choice. She also gives her an out (Diana was hurt last issue and is still recovering). Diana hesitates even though she’s longed to explore the horizon–leaving home forever is not an easy decision–but they understand that Diana is as much an Amazon as the others. She needs to at least try.

These Diana and Hippolyta moments are fantastic, because there is a love and tenderness between them but also respect. There’s a callback to issue #2 when they playfully call each other “princess” and “queen” before the more intimate titles of “daughter” and “mother,” but now their words are laced with sorrow, because they’ll be separated, possibly forever. It’s a gut punch.

Greg Rucka (Writer). Nicola Scott (Artist). Romulo Fajardo Jr. (Colourist). Jodi Wynne (Letterer).

Another gut punch of emotion (there have been a few) happens earlier between Diana and Steve when he asks for his friends. They don’t speak the same language, but Diana conveys to him that they’ve died. Watching him break down so openly to someone he doesn’t know was outstanding, because it made me like Steve as a human being and not an embodiment of idealized masculinity. I’m excited to watch their friendship unfold.

I’ve mentioned in my review of Wonder Woman #2 that I adore the art, but it was the panel below that had me gripping my chest in awe.

Greg Rucka (Writer). Nicola Scott (Artist). Romulo Fajardo Jr. (Colourist). Jodi Wynne (Letterer). DC Comics. August 10th, 2016.

Nicola Scott is fabulous, and Romulo Fajardo Jr. should never leave, but Jodi Wynne’s lettering in this panel just elevated the issue to a whole new level. It actually made me giddy reading it. Rucka is great, and his love for this storyline is palpable, but this art team cements Wonder Woman as one of my favourite comics right now.

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  • Jane
    August 23, 2016, 12:13 am

    …Wait, are the Amazons no longer nasty, in-fighting, back-biting utter and total bitches who also commit wholesale rape? THANK GOD!

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