If the image of Diana in a jail cell surrounded by half a dozen animals doesn’t attract readers, then the sheer beauty of Nicola Scott and Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s “Wonder Woman” #6 certainly will. Embellished by Fajardo’s stunning colors, Scott’s beautiful imagery goes a long way towards making the entire issue a treat for readers, and writer Greg Rucka does his part with strong scripting and characterization. This third installment of the “Year One” arc begins to tie in to the “The Lies,” Rucka’s present-day storyline that runs concurrently with this one, and delightfully forges the early relationship between Diana and future love interest Steve Trevor.
As he’s done so successfully in previous chapters, Rucka continues to convincingly portray “Year One’s” Diana as youthful, yet mature and trusting without seeming naïve. She carries a genuine and refreshing sense of innocence that’s drastically different from her current persona, and — while Rucka’s stranger-in-a-strange-land approach puts her at a disadvantage — her strength is still evident, just tempered by her patience. Scott’s interpretation of Diana communicates Rucka’s intent perfectly; she is all but brought to life by Scott’s artwork, which deftly uses facial expressions to give character a natural feeling, unlike the larger-than-life rendering usually employed by other artists. It works well for Rucka’s story; after all, Diana isn’t a superhero yet, but Scott’s interpretation of her makes it believable that she will be one day.
While Rucka’s characterization skills define the issue (as well as his run so far), it’s the smaller touches that add a good-natured and realistic flavor to the story. For example, Diana’s apprehension over being fingerprinted is trivial on its own, but helps keep the story light and also shines some light on her personality, establishing wariness, if not fear. Rucka also walks a fine line as he gives Diana her first peek at the world beyond Themyscira; Diana’s expected reaction would be revulsion, while those from the military guard would be hostility. Neither is apparent here; Diana’s reacts with curiosity and uncertainty, while the U.S. Navy’s take on her is equally curious, but friendly. Overall, Rucka’s script comes across as bright and optimistic.
The moment captured on Scott’s cover occurs near the end of the issue and is even more breathtaking in the context of Rucka’s story. He establishes her discontent and frustration but never despair, despite her imprisonment. When the script calls for this surprising moment, it proves that even the inside of a naval base’s brig can be upbeat.
“Wonder Woman” #6 is the kind of comic all other comics should aspire to be: superbly characterized, beautifully rendered and — most of all — fun to read, even for those who aren’t typically “Wonder Woman” fans.