Wonder Woman (#12 – 14) – Greg Rucka

4 out of 5

Why did I review these separately?  Mostly because I’m a follow-the-herd idiot: When it’s not clear how to group issues for reviews, I’ll generally look to the upcoming trades and follow their groupings.  …Which potentially opens up a deeper discussion on ‘writing for the trades,’ but that’s out of scope for now.  With Rebirth’s twice-monthly schedule and Rucka’s decision to use that opportunity to write two storylines in the alternating weeks, it wasn’t clear how things would get divvied up.  But ‘The Truth’ arc was going to be collected ending at issue 11, and so – without solicits for volume 2 yet – I made an assumption that Year One would be something of an ongoing bit and decided to review all the issues up to 11 together.

Alas, Year One extended to issues 12 and 14, with a Lies postscript (‘Angel Down’) in issue 13.  So here we are, with some scattered issues to review, and yes I wish I had reviewed Year One altogether but oh well.  …Because they’re still really good!

Rucka and Nicola Scott close out WW’s first Earthbound year with a nice twist that underlines the impact of her decision to leave Themyscira (thus tying in well with The Lies again) and really sells the sense of awe that should be appropriately imparted by the character.  By constantly reminding us of her Godly status – the mindbomb that Steve and crew are dealing with a myth made real – it brings back the reverence we sometimes lose in these big hero comics, making her actions (which result in the public giving her comic book name hero name) big and bold and impactful.  Scott’s art here is fantastic, with a particularly impressive splash page spread around the WW star design, and Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s colors give everything a heavenly glow.  Issue 12 is a bit slower as its the penultimate ‘putting the pieces together’ plotbeat, but it pays off in a great conclusion.

Issue 13’s Angel Down makes less of a mark.  It seems Liam Sharp might require some time for his books, as we had another one-shot in the middle of The Lies; here the art is provided by Renato Guedes.  His shadow work is quite excellent – though perhaps that’s down to colorist Fajardo – with the island on which Steve and Diana find themselves hunted by Cassandra’s agents (all on the search for the entrance to Themyscira) very moody and ominous, which is the perfect balance to Year One’s bright color scheme.  Guedes’ figures feel a bit too stiff and digital, but swathed in the shadows they look cool, and Steve’s guerilla tactics are excitingly handled.  It’s also a well written issue for Greg; a perfect example of balancing text to tell one story while the pictures show another.  In this case it’s a letter Steve has written to Diana after the fact.  Despite these pluses, the issue still ends up feeling like something of a holding pattern, as its a hurry-up-and-wait bit: The story took us to this location, now we wait, and at issue’s end we return home so the plot can continue.

Starting with issues 15 and 16, the storylines start anew, so maybe my next reviews will be better timed.