While my colleague Alyssa covers one half of Rucka’s Wonder Woman series, I’ll look at the other that takes place in the past. With Nicola Scott joining in as artist, let’s see what the past offers. Is it good?
Wonder Woman #2 (DC Comics)
We travel back several years ago. Diana Prince is still on Themyscira. While she enjoys her life with her people, mother, and friends, she does still wonder what’s beyond the island and out there in the world of man. Meanwhile, Steve Trevor is currently going through basic training and is living life as best as he can with his good buddy Nick.
Wonder Woman #2 begins the second part of Rucka’s run, Year One. This focuses directly on the origin of our heroine and how she got started, sort of like Batman: Year One. In this case, the issue is about the time before Diana and Steve met each other and how their lives were going. For an unknown amount of years (two to four), we see the two characters in their daily lives with their friends and family as the comic jumps back and forth between each character constantly.
Ultimately, I found that this approach really worked well. Rucka and Scott did a fantastic job with the storytelling on the issue, using a lot of good parallels and juxtaposition shots/scenes throughout (like scenes of Steve and Diana “shooting” at targets). Neither character took up too much panel time nor did the comic spend too long on any one moment. Even with the story going between each character constantly throughout the issue, it never once felt jarring nor was there ever a moment where a scene ended abruptly or did not transition properly. Rucka knew when to hold back on the dialogue and exposition and just let the artwork tell the story, which helped so much at points. On a technical level regarding the writing and storytelling, this had to be the best comic I’ve read in a while that was absolutely perfect in those areas.
And the sound of a thousand keyboards could be heard across the globe as the fan fic writers gained enough material to write a dozen or so more chapters of their Wonder Woman stories.
But what about the story of the issue? Was it any good? Essentially, it acts a zero issue (more so than Rebirth, but not as much as the previous series’ #0 issue), telling the story of the characters before crashing on Themyscira. It doesn’t really seem to reference the events of Azzarello’s run and goes about doing its own thing, seemingly returning back to pre-New 52 Wonder Woman origins. I’m not sure if this is tossing his run out, especially given the nature of the series and what was revealed in the Rebirth issue, but the prospect of it may upset some people. However, the origin story here is fine regardless as a modern update for the character. It’s a good introduction to Diana, the Amazons, their culture, and Steve in their early days overall; not really needing to resort to exposition to explain anything. It just lets the art, the characters, and world around them tell the audience everything they need to know.
The characterization here is excellent. Diana feels right given where she’s currently at, both happy with her life, but also longing to see more of the world. You can see the traits and skills she had early on that would be visible as Wonder Woman, such as her intelligence, her kind personality, and even her combat ability (only briefly though with the last one). Steve Trevor, while not as deep, is shown to be a relatively nice guy, loyal, and someone who is always there for his friends. He would make a good contrast to the perception of men on Themyscira and why Diana would be interested in him. There’s even a small character in Steve’s friend, Nick, who we see throughout the entire issue from basic training all the way until Steve lands on Paradise Island. Even though he’s not going to be an important character, Rucka does a fantastic job making him feel human as you see him at his best and worst. It’s just great all around.
One of Steve’s less known skills: Astronomy!
Lastly we have the artwork by Nicola Scott and it’s beautiful. Outside of a few female characters having the exact same face and some wasted white space through the comic, I really have no complaints with the art. Every character is drawn very well, able to express the right emotion that matches the mood, and no one ever looks off model with their physiques. Like mentioned, the art does a great job at being able to convey the story and tone without the need of dialogue or exposition. It’s great at being able to balance both the show and the tell. The locations are wonderful and full of life, the layouts are fantastic and flow well, and the coloring by Romulo Fajardo Jr. only adds onto everything as well, especially with the mood. This is easily one of the best looking superhero comics on the market and I can’t wait to see more.
Is It Good?
Wonder Woman #2 is magnificent. Even after reading it and thinking about it for a few days, my thoughts on it remain the same. This is truly one of the best single issues I’ve read in a long time from any company, whether it be the big two or an indie publisher. Everything came together perfectly on a technical, storytelling, character, and art level. If you are a fan of Wonder Woman, you owe it to yourself to read this.