SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Wonder Woman #25, on sale now.
Greg Rucka’s return to Wonder Woman was one of the biggest surprises of the initial DC Rebirth announcements over a year ago. Over the course of the last twelve months, he’s crafted a new epic for Diana of Themyscira, along with collaborators like Liam Sharp, Nicola Scott, Bilquis Evely, Romulo Fajardo Jr and Jodie Wynne.
This week saw the release of Rucka’s second swan-song with Diana, as he leaves the character on much better terms than his previous final issue of Wonder Woman a decade ago. Issue #25 leaves the character and her friends in very interesting places for the incoming creative teams to play with over the course of the next year.
Etta Candy & Sasha Bordeaux
Early in the run, Rucka brought back one of his best creations at DC Comics, former bodyguard to Bruce Wayne and former agent of Checkmate, Sasha Bordeaux. In the pre-Flashpoint continuity, Sasha was one of the few people that overcame the OMAC virus triggered by Maxwell Lord during Infinite Crisis, but in the new continuity she’s still struggling with being taken over by artificial intelligence, but instead it was at the hands of Doctor Cyber and Veronica Cale. While she’s trying to overcome the emotional strain of that, she’s still in charge of bringing in Wonder Woman’s baddies and she’s still Etta Candy’s boss, although Etta isn’t exactly on speaking terms with Diana anymore.
Diana promised Etta that she would rescue Barbara Ann Minerva AKA The Cheetah and restore her humanity to her, and that’s something that Wonder Woman was unable to do. In Rucka’s new history of the character and her friends, Etta and Barbara Ann have had an on-again, off-again flirtation/relationship that was halted abruptly when the latter’s obsession with the Amazons led to her becoming The Cheetah. The couple were briefly reunited when Wonder Woman rescued Barbara Ann from her god Urzkartaga and restored her humanity but Veronica Cale forced her to become The Cheetah once again.
The Cheetah and Veronica Cale
Speaking of Barbara Ann Minerva, she has fully succumbed to the curse of The Cheetah and according to the previous issue, is perfectly happy being The Cheetah as it’s who she sees herself as. She attempted to enter Themyscira but was rejected by the entrance, and as such decided that both humanity and Amazons alike would feel the wrath of a new god, herself. She attacked Veronica Cale at her home but was stopped by Wonder Woman who attempted to appeal to her friend’s good nature, only to find that it no longer resided within her. The Cheetah was last seen unconscious in the arms of Wonder Woman, but according to this issue recently escaped custody and is, pardon the pun, on the prowl.
As for Veronica Cale, who is perhaps Rucka’s single greatest contribution to the Wonder Woman franchise, this volume saw a new level of pathos and sympathy to the character as she was forced by Ares’ sons Phobos and Deimos to carry out her war against Wonder Woman, with her daughter’s future resting in the balance. While she was able to restore her daughter, she lost her to Paradise Island and returned alone to fierce scrutiny of several law enforcement agencies following her role in Godwatch. After alienating the last of her remaining allies in Doctor Cyber, Veronica Cale is on her own for the first time, which might just be where she’s at her most dangerous.
Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor
Wonder Woman herself leaves Rucka’s run with a whole new status quo in a number of ways, but first the writer clears up the loss of her lasso, The Golden Perfect, which she gave up at the end of “The Truth” to bind Phobos and Deimos and stop their attempt to kill their father Ares. In this issue, Wonder Woman is noticeably angrier than usual, feeling forsaken by her patrons, and takes out Justice League foe The Shaggy Man with a ruthless aggression that feels unfamiliar from the character, especially Rucka’s incarnation.
Rucka actually uses this to remind Diana of the friends she has in both Superman and Batman, who take the time to check in with her and make sure she’s okay. It’s throwback to the short from the recent Wonder Woman Annual, which featured the Trinity’s first meeting. The pair ask Diana about what happened to her lasso and suggest that she confront her patrons to find out why they are treating her so coldly and why they would lie so fiercely about who she was and where she came from. After she does, they gift her with a new lasso and a new confidence heading out into her new future, free of the lies and false memories that have plagued her for her entire time in man’s world.
Finally, the biggest status quo shift at the end of the issue is that Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman are a couple again, for the first time in decades. Way back in her post Crisis on Infinite Earths run by the legendary George Perez, Steve Trevor was several decades older than Diana and instead involved with Etta Candy and while the couple were connected following her arrival on man’s world, it’s been established that was more of a curiosity for Diana than a fully committed relationship.
However, this issue ends with Steve setting Diana up with a new home, a house she can call her own, and Diana makes the decision to kiss Steve and take him into the bedroom, establishing their new relationship as a permanent one and one that Diana is choosing. It’
The future of Wonder Woman is wide open in a way it has never been for the upcoming creative teams of Shea Fontana & Mirka Andolfo and James Robinson, Carlo Pagulayan, & Emanuela Lupacchino. While we know Robinson plans to bring in Wonder Woman’s twin brother Jason, Rucka and company have set up Diana’s world and supporting characters in a way that’s wide open for other creators to use however they like, and the future has never been brighter for the character.