Review: WONDER WOMAN, Vol.1 (DC Comics, Rebirth)

WonderWoman-Rebirth-Vol.01Writer: Greg Rucka | Art: Liam Sharp, Matthew Clark, Sean Parsons, Laura Martin, Jeremy Colwell | Letters: Jodi Wynne

Heroic. Iconic. Unstoppable. Armed with her Lasso of Truth and imbued with the power of the gods themselves, Princess Diana of Themyscira –known to the world as Wonder Woman — is one of the greatest superheroes in history.
But who is she… really? Not even Wonder Woman herself knows for sure. Diana’s links to both the Amazons and the Gods of Olympus have been severed. Her memories are a tangle of contradictions that even her lie-detecting lasso cannot untangle.
To solve the riddle of her origin, she must embark on her greatest quest of all: finding a way back to her vanished home. To get there, she must team up with her greatest enemy, the feral beast-woman, Cheetah. Will this unlikely alliance shine the light of truth on Diana’s darkest secrets, or bury them-and her-forever?

Collects: Wonder Woman #1, #3, #5, #7, #9, #11; Wonder Woman: Rebirth one-shot.

An interesting start to the most recent Wonder Woman series, written by returning scribe Greg Rucka, one of my favourite comics writers. This is a pretty good starting point for anyone new to the character, whether you’ve seen the excellent new movie or not. Although, of course, as this is a first volume, you are mainly getting an extended introduction to larger events still to come.

I first started reading Wonder Woman during DC’s previous re-boot, the New 52. In fact, that’s when I really started reading comics for the first time again since I was a kid (I’m excluding Calvin & Hobbes, as that really is in its own class of literature, in my opinion). I loved Brian Azzarello’s focus on Greek mythology, and the way he re-made the gods into something new and interesting, while still easily identifiable. (That sounds a little bit like the modus operandi of any comic book…) After Azzarello exited the series, things got a bit… loose and ragged, in my opinion. There were some good moments, but if I’m honest I’ve forgotten pretty much everything that happened in the final dozen-or-so issues of the New 52 series.

Rucka’s approach to the character is pretty interesting, and a fair bit different to Azzarello’s. He doesn’t ignore the mythology, but he seems to be more interested in telling a thriller/mystery story, as opposed to a detective story populated by bothersome deities. Rucka has quite the history with the character, and has written quite a few Wonder Woman issues and stories in the past (now collected in two new paperbacks — which I’ll also be reviewing, hopefully soon).

As with many first volumes, one won’t finish “The Lies” with a complete story. Rather, this is very much the opening act for bigger things to come. Rucka has moved relevant players onto the board, and given us some insight into their motivations and allegiances.

Rucka et al open the book with a crash-course in pretty much everything you need to know to jump into Diana’s story, while never resorting to clunky info-dumping. Diana is shown considering her place in the world, in a less-angsty way than many superheroes these days, she’s questioning her identity and mission in the changing DC universe. After that, we join her as she tracks someone through a jungle. There are some hints that the story could include some horror-inflected elements, which could be cool. Meanwhile, Steve Trevor is engaged in his own mission, tracking a warlord in some third world country. Inevitably, the stories collide towards the end of the book.

The artwork is stunning throughout, and is almost worth getting just for Sharp’s eye-catching, clean imagery. Combined with Rucka’s story, though, it becomes quite the winning formula.

Luckily, the second volume is already available, so you won’t have to wait long to get more of the story (DC seems to be in a hurry to get the collections out, this time). I’m definitely going to be reading at least the next two collections, to see if this series has what it takes to keep my attention for the long-haul. (I have pretty limited patience with the extended series, preferring to rely on collected, completed storylines.)

If you are a fan of the character, you won’t be disappointed with Rucka’s return to the series. If you’re a fan of the character from the movie, then I think you’ll also find a lot to like in here. The book should also serve as a great jumping-on point for those completely new to the character. Recommended.

Review copy received from publisher

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