WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers from both Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman, as well as the Gal Gadot-starring film.
Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman ended aptly, with an issue titled Perfect. It’s a good summation of the story Rucka crafted over 25 issues (and an Annual), featuring a Diana who is lost, confused and angry, but eventually finds herself, finds truth. It’s a happy ending, as happy as it could be, and as final an ending as any characters are allowed to have in comics. Diana returns, finally, to a home, satisfied in knowing the truth of who she is.
That’s what Rucka’s entire series has been about, after all. Shortly after Rebirth began, Diana realized she had never returned to Themiscyra, ever, and that her story kept changing, as we all know it has a habit of doing. It was a perfect direction to take Diana in. Over the decades, she’s been many things, including a de-powered spy, and a Justice League secretary. Rucka’s series seemed to take it all and say, “Okay, but at the heart of it all, who is she?” Not only does the series seek to define her, but Diana — in the story — is on a quest to define herself.
On her journey to seek out the truth, it drives her insane, takes her to the pits of Hell, and finally brings her back home for the smallest of glimpses of her mother. It’s beautiful, hard, harsh and perfect. It’s fitting that the two main arcs are titled The Truth and The Lies, as that’s what the entire story revolves around — who Diana really is. In the end, we find out she is who she’s always been, only now she is perhaps slightly more defined.
None of this would have been possible, however, without the amazing artwork of Nicola Scott, Liam Sharp, and Bilquis Evely. None of them fail to bring Wonder Woman to life, depicting her as she is, a non-white, loving, tall, beautiful warrior.
This series, it’s true, breaks the mold by unabashedly referring to Diana’s loves, plural, including those she had on Themyscira, and depicting her conclusively as a WoC. More than any other series falling under the DC Comics Rebirth umbrella, this comic truly feels like a Rebirth for its title character — her first, true birth since William Marston Moulton first brought her to life, with the aid of his lovely wives.
In virtually every way, this series sought to broke the rules and redefine Wonder Woman for a new audience. Even with the series’ bi-weekly schedule, which has broken other writers in the past, this comic sung. In fact, one could argue, it made the series even better.
Rucka decided to take the two-issues-a-month schedule and run with it. Like with Watchmen, every other issue moved the plot forward, with the alternating issues filling in her backstory, letting us know what was happening — showing us the truth. While the comic is possible to understand if all one reads is The Lies and The Truth, skipping Year One and Godwatch won’t leave you confused, though it will mean you don’t have the true and complete picture. And it is a beautiful picture after all — one telling a story of a Diana more real than perhaps ever before, one who is unabashedly queer, one who is strong, selfless, kind, caring and fierce. This is a Diana who, as she herself says, is good at loving, and equally good at fighting for those she loves.
This comic, for the first time in a long time, is one you can recommend to almost any comic fan, that lets you fall in love with Diana for the first time, or remember why you fell in love with her in the first place. Amidst Rebirth’s numerous universe-changing storylines, Diana’s may be the quietest, but it’s also the most powerful.
But potentially more important than any of that is how the comic was released while Diana is conquering the silver screen. Now, Diana will have more fans than ever, all thanks to Patty Jenkin’s absolutely gorgeous film, Wonder Woman.
When comics are coming out around the same time as movies, it’s almost customary for the comics to reference the films, if not directly then feature some of the same villains, plot points, etc. and Rucka’s run is no exception. Year One details Steve Trevor’s arrival on Themiscyra, Diana’s journey away from her home, meeting Etta Candy, her fight against Poison, and her first battle with Ares — an Ares who looks almost exactly like the one we all saw on-screen. Granted, he turns out to not be the real Ares, but we’re eventually treated to an Ares who defines Themiscyra as being a place that is both literally and metaphorically what happens when society rises above him. It’s a good mix of a God of War to be feared, and one of Diana’s patron gods — a mix of the divine and the mortal. After all, that’s what Diana is, isn’t she?
The movie/comic overlap is helpful for new readers, and unlike some comics where changes feel forced, none of the overlap feels odd or out of the ordinary. It feels as if the filmmakers and Rucka were in tune, realizing which details needed to be shown in order for their stories to work — and they just so happened to need the same plot points and characters.
This series works as a fantastic primer to the mythos of Wonder Woman, featuring characters from everywhere across her history. If you had never read a Wonder Woman comic before, you would not be lost; and if you had, you would be found. To repeat a well-worn phrase, this is the perfect series for new and old fans alike.
Wonder Woman’s future has never looked bright, as Greg Rucka hands the reins off to Shea Fontana who has already proved she has a clear voice for Diana in the pages of Justice League and DC’s Superhero High. Sure, after her will come another man, one whose story will center around Diana’s brother, but that’s the future, and we’re relishing the present.
For now, for those who fell in love with Diana as she trudged across No Man’s Land, as she saved without caring how it would hurt her, Rucka has left a wonderful legacy. We fully expect Fontana and company will not only carry the torch, but make it burn even brighter.
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