Open Mike Night: Wonder Woman (2016) #1

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Wonder Woman (2016) #1

Written by: Greg Rucka
Art by: Liam Sharp
Colored by: Laura Martina
Lettered by: Jodi Wynne

Published by: DC
Cover Price: $2.99

Maillaro: Up front, I want to say that I haven’t read many Wonder Woman solo books over the years.  I tend to avoid characters with a lot of “gods and mythology.”  I never bought an issue of Thor (other than crossovers) until the Jane Foster swap up.   I did pick up and enjoy the Legends of Wonder Woman digital series, which I thought provided some real fresh takes on the character.  

But I was committed to picking up all the Rebirth specials to see if they could win me over.  Some actually turned me away from buying the series (looking at you, Aquaman), but Wonder Woman Rebirth #1 did the exact opposite.  Greg Rucka took a lot of what we think we know about Wonder Woman and made her question it.  This issue continues Wonder Woman’s quest to learn the truth about herself.

Wonder Woman has gone to the country of Bwunda in search of Cheetah to get her help in finding Themyscira which seems to have vanished.  Meanwhile, Steve Trevor is leading an operation to take down a corrupt warlord in the same area, and many in the government believe that Trevor leaked this info to Wonder Woman to get her help, though he denies it.

Right off the bat I will say I did like Wonder Woman: Rebirth a little more than this first issue.  The Steve Trevor subplot helped to expand the supporting cast, but I thought it took a lot of focus away from Wonder Woman’s story too.  Wonder Woman is doing something unusual in that it will be doing “year one” stories in alternating issues, so we have to wait until issue 3 to find out what’s going on with Themyscira.  So that made the subplot extra frustrating for me.

Weaver: I’ve never actively collected any mythology heavy titles, but it never turned me off either.  If a cover or a storyline seemed cool, I would pick up an issue of Wonder Woman here or there, but I don’t have an expansive knowledge of her (outside of being moderately into JLA for a while).

I actually enjoyed this issue more than the Rebirth special.  The Rebirth special had some nice art and a lot of flashes of the past, but the plot was basically “Wonder Woman repeatedly asks the mirror who she is”.  The culmination of it, with her mystic lasso’ing herself to find the truth, was neat, but I’m happier reading a story where things actually happen to some degree.

I worry that the meta-plot of this is going to make Wonder Woman’s history a crazy mess, more than it already was, with the veneer of eventually simplifying it. By acknowledging both the lie and the truth as totally separate realities, the lie is still true, just in an alternate universe that will theoretically be jettisoned at the end of this.

Maillaro: Yeah, DC Rebirth has left DC in a bit of a strange place.  The “missing ten years” is not quite clear on exactly how much has changed for each character.  New-52 Wonder Woman’s origin is vastly different than Pre-Flashpoint Wonder Woman.  

It looks like Rucka is going to try and reconcile all that. Sometimes that works well (STARMAN) sometimes not so much (the many, many attempts to fix Hawkman’s continuity).   Rucka is mostly pretty good, and as long as they give him a lot of leeway, I think he could do a good job with it.

I did like Cheetah showing up in the end.  Her new look was pretty awesome.  I don’t know Liam Sharp’s work all that much, but I did think he drew a beautiful comic here.  

Weaver: The art team was completely on point.  Every page had a lot of nice detail, and I found myself looking back at some and finding things I didn’t notice. As long as this team remains intact and there isn’t any kind of intervening factor, you don’t need to worry about the art on this one.

Which makes my worries about the story even bigger.  You hate to see a greatly illustrated poorly written book, because either the artist is stuck in a doom he has no say in or the writer is unjustly buoyed by the excellent work.  I’m not going to call this poorly written, but it has all the potential warning signs of a messy plot.  

I’ll give Rucka a chance to win me over on this, but I’m worried.

Maillaro: Do you mean Wonder Woman’s story alone, or the addition of the bizarre Steve Trevor: Man of War story?

Weaver: The dichotomy between “lies” and “truth” being given two separate storylines as opposed to making one a subset of the other.

Maillaro: Yeah, I tend to agree with that.  There is a weird attempt at parallel storytelling here.  I don’t think it takes down the comic at all, but I do agree with you that if it’s not done carefully, it could quickly make a mess of the comic.  Personally, I am always cautious when a comic tries to deal with real world issues. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it feels real awkward.  It didn’t help that it wasn’t quite clear what the mission Trevor and company were dealing with.

Weaver: Something to do with a drug lord/crime lord/warlord that stole a bunch of villagers’ daughters.  Sounds like something Wonder Woman would get involved in.

Maillaro: Yeah, they made that very comment in the comic...so scores?  I think the art gets a full 5.  The writing I am not quite confident of a score.  It could sort of range from a 3 to a 4.5.  I will split the difference and say 4.  

Weaver: A full 5 for art is indisputable, in my mind.  With the writing, I have to judge it based just on what’s in front of me, so all my concerns about where it can go from here (probably downward fast), I’ll set aside.  I’m going to give it a 4 as well.


Summary:  A great first issue.  Gorgeous art, strong characterization and some compelling story ideas.  The Steve Trevor subplot didn't grab us as much as the main story, and we could see this book getting bogged down over the next few issues, but it still remains a very strong first issue for a character that we usually don't pay much attention to.  

 

Maillaro – Story (out of 5)

Weaver – Story (out of 5)

Maillaro – Art (out of 5)

Weaver – Art (out of 5)

Wonder Woman #1

4

4

5

5

 


Maillaro: Next week is a fifth week, and I will likely be away for July 4th weekend.  But if you are around, we should be able to knock off something quick on Thursday?  Not a lot of real exciting stuff for the fifth week, but Captain Hydra issue 2 comes out!  

Weaver: I’m so leery of that.  Back when we had all the hubbub about female Thor, black Cap, etc, I was all over it.  This one...just feels like no matter what my opinion of it, I’ll be Wrong.

Maillaro: How about we do an old school review then?  Been a while, and that gives us a little more time to get it done?

Weaver: Sure.  I’m game for just about anything, but what today’s review reminded me of was the brief glorious time in the 70’s when Wonder Woman tried to reinvent itself as a powerless spy comic.  Okay, not so glorious.  But I think vaguely relevant and definitely a story that doesn’t get told a lot.

Maillaro: Okay, yeah!  That sounds perfect!

 

Weaver: Looks like Wonder Woman 178.

 

Maillaro: Back to the swinging 60’s baby!  I’m in!

 
Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0