Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One collects Wonder Woman #2, #4, #6, #8, #10, #12, and #14. Written by Greg Rucka with art by Nicola Scott.
What follows may contain spoilers.
Let me start by saying I no longer read individual comic book editions. I wait for them to come out in graphic novel form. If time permits, I will sit in the book store and read an edition. Otherwise, I’m grateful for digital review copies.
When I first started reading The Lies, I couldn’t help but wonder, “What am I missing?” Nevertheless, I prevailed, despite the feeling that the Rebirth story was not complete.
Then, I picked up Year One, and I began to see what I was missing. As the comics were released, the odd numbered issues were the present day (The Lies) while the even numbered issues were recalling the past (Year One).
I agree with Eric Joseph who acknowledges that while this was a creative way to balance the work load between the two artists, it really does nothing for new readers. But once you read Year One, you see how the two storylines work together. This is why I have chosen to review both volumes together in one blog post.
Greg Rucka, who has a history writing Wonder Woman stories, delivers a decent narrative. DC’s Rebirth is a massive reboot of every character. This provides Rucka the opportunity to rebuild and reimagine Wonder Woman. Though I am not convinced that he does so.
2 Characters Return
What he does do is reintroduce Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva, also known as The Cheetah, and Steve Trevor. Cheetah is an interesting character, cursed to desire and consume human flesh, she wrestles with the never-ending array of decisions she has made. We get a glimpse into these life altering decisions in the Year One story. I am curious to see where the Minerva/Cheetah story goes.
In comparison, Liam Sharp’s artwork in The Lies is incredible. Sharp’s detail in the panels, especially in the battle scenes in the jungle, communicates much more than Rucka’s narrative. Nicola Scott’s art in Year One is good, but no Liam Sharp. Yet, there are enough similarities between the two artist’s work that compliment each other, especially considering that Scott’s reflects Diana’s past.
The character of Steve Trevor has taken on many aspects, including in television and film.
The Trevor of the New 52 was an experiment that went bad. He was a bitter ex-boyfriend who tried too hard. He was in the shadow of Superman and simply was not likable. But, here, in the Rebirth, Trevor gets a second chance. Rucka and artists do a great job in revealing Trevor’s humanity.
“The first casualty of war,” Wonder Woman reflects, “is truth.”
This statement speaks to the theme of the Rebirth of Wonder Woman but also invites mystery. Who is she at war with? And what truth does she seek?
Wonder Woman attempts to reconcile her volatile memories. Her memories, which readers may recall from the original Wonder Woman and the New 52. When you look closely at Sharp’s artwork, for example when Diana shatters the mirror, you see homage paid to these earlier storylines.
The truth begins to show itself when Diana uses the Lasso of Truth on herself. It reveals, “You have been deceived.” But just what that means will not be discovered in this volume.
Her search to rediscover her memories leads her into the jungle and see The Cheetah for the first time in many years. The reunion is not filled with warm fuzzies. The old friends battle each other. When the fighting seems futile, Cheetah tells Wonder Woman, “I hate you.”
Wonder Woman replies, “Love can exist with hatred, each preying on the other.”
Meanwhile, in the even-numbered issues, we are reintroduced to Wonder Woman’s origin. From the plane crash and Steve Trevor as the only survivor to the games being fought to determine the island’s champion. Diana is the victor and it is she who escorts Steve back to home.
But before all of that, Diana discovers this tree that she has never seen before. Its bark is darker than the other trees. The tree’s branches are more bent and crooked. Intrigued by it, Diana reaches out to touch it. A snake emerges quickly and bites her wrist. It is seen by the priestess as a message from the patrons, or gods.
In the states, Diana is exposed to terrorists at a mall. The first thing of this kind for her. “Why do they do this?” she asks. Dr. Minerva tells her that the root is hate. The tattoo on one of the men looks a lot like the mysterious tree Diana encountered on the island. “A tree made of darkness,” Diana tells Barbara Ann.
The bite of the serpent in the garden seems to have led Diana to this moment, coming face to face with evil in the form of terrorism. It seems that all of this hate and evil is connected to Ares, the god of war. It is through Ares that evil has spread throughout Earth. “His way,” Diana says, “is madness, the battlefield frenzy that consumes all.”
Ares is not the only divine presence in this story. The other gods, or patrons, of Diana’s world, present themselves to her in the form of animals. They gift Diana with the special powers that we come to associate with Wonder Woman. They also give information, via a cell phone, to the good guys in order to defeat Ares.
Rucka’s story reimagines Wonder Woman’s origin in a compelling way. I cannot imagine reading it, however, as it was published in single issues. If I were to read it again, I would probably start with Year One and then read The Lies. Either way, it’s an enjoyable story, leaving me with enough curiosity about where Rebirth will go next.
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