As my three previous posts this week have been woman-centered, I figured I’d throw in one more. And conveniently, I just finished the first two TPBs of Wonder Woman Rebirth The Lies and Year One — by Greg Rucka and artists Liam Sharp (The Lies) and Nicola Scott (Year One). Cover by Sharp, all rights remain with current holder.
Rebirth is DC’s latest reboot, meant to restore everything they screwed up when they rebooted their post-Crisis universe into the New 52. It’s been a mixed bag include books that don’t reboot at all and those that soft-reboot the character back to some earlier incarnation. In WW’s case, Rebirth means retconning away the New 52 origin and apparently most of her New 52 adventures.
In The Lies Wonder Woman finds herself torn between the post-Crisis origin from the 1980s and the New 52 daughter-of-Zeus version. Trying to figure this out requires saving Steve and her old foe the Cheetah from a demon-god with plans for them both. At the end, it becomes obvious the New 52 origin is just an illusion, but who imposed it on her? And why? In Year One we get the Perez origin retold with minor changes: Wonder Woman had lovers on Themyscira (this is actually a big change in the character, but it hardly affects the story any) she didn’t get super powers until after arriving in the US, Etta Candy is a black military officer (good, but I’d still pick the fun-loving sorority girl from Earth One as the best Candy reboot).
The good stuff. Rucka really does write a good Wonder Woman and I really enjoyed Year One. There’s a sequence where Diana uses her bracelets to protect a mother and child during a terrorist incident and its really powerful. And this is the first time in years the post-crisis version of the Cheetah has been interesting.
And I’m delighted to get rid of the New 52’s origin and the Olympian adventures. As I’ve said before, they’d have made a great story for a new character, not so much for Diana. It’s also nice to see Steve Trevor (Rucka writes him well) and Diana as a couple.
The not-so-good. This is the fifth version of Diana’s origin in the past few years, following Bombshells, Legends of Wonder Woman, Earth One and Wonder Woman: The True Amazon. Not to mention the movie. It’s a good story, yes, but it’s not that good. And unlike some of those other retellings, Rucka’s not throwing much that hasn’t been seen before. And while I realize there aren’t many other “iconic” WW tales to retell, there’s always the possibility of, you know, telling new ones.
And the villain in The Lies turns out to be Veronica Cale, a villain in a business suit who’s never interested me much.
The bad stuff. Like I said, I’m happy to get rid of the New 52 origin (though using it in the movie probably means it’ll stick around in the public mind) but at this point we’re ten issues into Rucka’s run and we’re still working on the reboot. The end of The Lies where Diana realizes the New 52 Paradise Island is just an illusion packs a punch — but we’d seen her make the same discovery about Olympus a few issues earlier. I’d have preferred to see this resolved in three issues tops. Likewise the origin could be done in one. True, Perez took a half-dozen issues, but his version was a major overhaul of the 1940s original. Rucka’s just retelling Perez.
I’m very glad I read library copies instead of buying them myself.