Wonder Woman Annual (2016) – Greg Rucka, Various

3 out of 5

I just got through reading a few different editorial takes on how Annual comics are currently used, as I closed the cover on 2017’s WW Annual with my usual Annual opinion – that it was not great or horrible, but an inoffensive waste of time – and then suddenly wondered: does anyone like annuals?

I don’t understand crossover events, but I can understand the appeal for others.  But annuals?  What gives?  Occasionally you’ll get a worthwhile story, but when the annuals are in this WW style – several short stories – while it seems like it might offer more possibilities for success, it also offers the same for failure.  …Which equates to a lower percentage of possible “rewarding” pages per buck overall.

Accepting that five or six internet pages does not comprise the whole of the world’s opinion, and obviously my search was geared toward finding opinions that aligned with my own, I can summarize on what those five or six pages (and their commenters) and I agree: that annuals are rarely worth it, but it’s a dumb habit we buyers can’t break – on that off chance you DO miss a good or continuity relevant story – and that the publishers thus won’t break either.

We can let most of that stand for my review of this book.

I’m buying Greg Rucka’s current Wonder Woman, and he has a story in the annual which really adds nothing to his world, but, if I had to guess, is an olive branch to the next writers (as Greg is leaving, as of this writing, in a few issues) to sort of bring WW into the larger DC universe.  Drawn by series co-artist Nicola Scott, it’s a solid contribution, but again, completely unimportant.

Vita Ayala, Mike Moreci, and Collin Kelly / Jackson Lanzing also have stories, all of which are absolutely divorced from Rucka’s run.  Which is fine, and again, like Greg’s bit, they’re all well done, but the few-page variations on ‘Diana upholds her principles’ isn’t all that stirring.

I realize none of this review is actually positive, but that’s more a rag on annuals.  If someone just saw the WW movie and wanted to try a standalone experience, then sure, this annual offers that, and at a not dumbed-down heroes-in-tights level.  But for weekly buyers, I can’t see much value.