Concluding their powerful Year One story arc, Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott shine in "Wonder Woman" #14. Knowing that Diana will face off against Ares in the issue had readers expecting a slugfest, and the creative team didn't disappoint when it became “go” time. But Diana is equal parts warrior and philosopher, and her depth of character is on brilliant display throughout the book as she seeks peaceful resolution before resorting to ass-kicking force.
Ares is here to extract the location of Themyscira from Steve Trevor’s mind, and after Diana attacks Ares to save Trevor, she supplicates herself before the god and offers that in return for peace he takes the information from her. Ares’ attempted extraction fails because Diana, whose eyes are now bleeding, genuinely does not know the location of the island. Realizing her exile from home is actually a gift, Diana defeats Ares with the help of her patrons.
Without actually stating it, the appearance of Ares seems to settle the pre-Rebirth question of whether or not Diana would remain the god of war. In short, she will not, though her use of the lasso to burn away the effects of the Maru virus does harken back to her role as the avatar of truth. It will be interesting to see how this develops in the story arc kicking off in issue #15, “The Truth.”
The creative pairing of Rucka and Scott has functioned as a cohesive unit from day one, and their flawless flow in this issue makes it an exhilarating page-turner. Rucka’s script neatly ties up the story threads woven through the arc, cementing the relationships that form the basis of Diana’s new world. Scott’s thoughtful layouts convey Diana’s transformation from lost daughter to resolute hero with compassion and conviction, leaving no doubt as to why Wonder Woman is one of DC’s “big three.” Scott’s scrupulous attention to detail through this series had indicated a deference for Wonder Woman’s importance in comics history and a bold determination to bring her forward, providing a believable place for the Amazon’s values in the modern world that feels comfortable and never contrived. Take a look at the last panel; the “Wonder Woman” newspaper headlines are another of this series’ homages to Diana’s past—in various eras, they have all appeared as the masthead title on the comic book’s covers. Nice touch, guys.
From awkward first meetings and language barriers to the confidence in her skills as a warrior and her determination to be a living champion for the world, Rucka and Scott have created one of the best origin reboots of the New 52/Rebirth era. They have established a Wonder Woman that is humble, approachable, confident and incredibly powerful in ways even she has yet to discover. Rucka and Scott have successfully forged a role model with qualities that will define her well beyond Year One.
It’s a shame that Wonder Woman’s tenure as a United Nations ambassador was so brief, but that’s okay. Wonder Woman doesn’t need to be an official ambassador to the United Nations to embody the call for equal rights and empowerment for women around the world -- she’s been doing that every day for 75 years.