Wonder Woman fans should temper themselves as this issue is all about Barbara Ann Minerva, aka Cheetah. It’s an origin story of sorts, but is it good?
Wonder Woman #8 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The DC summary reads:
Year One Interlude: Young Barbara Ann Minerva is thrust on a quest for answers to the Amazons’ most ancient secrets.
Why does this book matter?
I’ve been unapologetically gushing over Bilquis Evely’s art over in Legends of Tomorrow as she has a unique style that’s vividly real and incredibly expressive. It’s also fantastic at capturing the surroundings around characters. The fact that she’s drawing an Indiana Jones-type backstory for Cheetah means her lines will bring the house down!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
She makes a solid point.
And bring the house down they do. Though there aren’t any superheroes or big action sequences, I’m not sure any other artist could have pulled this off. Evely draws Minerva with a lot of confidence and panache that I think little girls and teenagers could easily gain confidence from. She’s working with mostly men, but doesn’t hold back when she knows she’s right. This is long before she becomes Cheetah and in fact the road in which she gains the powers, but here Evely draws her with the obsessive determination to find the lost Amazonian women. To set this up we see her as a child and Evely draws in such great detail you will feel her pain, her doubt and her desire to be an adventurer. The grounds in which she grew up are also beautiful too. There’s also a fantastic full page montage spread of Minerva traveling the globe that’s quite fun and reminiscent of Indiana Jones.
Greg Rucka writes a good issue too. As an origin Rucka does a great job establishing the character and why she’s driven so hard. The opening pages reveal a difficult childhood that will lay the road to a woman who never stops to get what she wants. From there, Rucka cuts to Minerva at an excavation where, over shots of whiskey, Minerva explains why the “known” ideas of the Amazons are sexist and misguided. This scene establishes she’s not a cliched female character or damsel. Overall Rucka does a good job establishing a strong character who’s not just destined to be a faceless villain.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The issue does lack action, though this isn’t that type of story, but the lack of conflict does hurt its ability to drive the story along. It’s a character work comic that is driven by a conflict between the character and her father, but I’m not sure it’s enough to drive the story all the way to the end. The end leaves you wanting more too. Overall the plotting feels like it could have used something else, a dash of something, to make it excellent.
Is It Good?
Who needs Wonder Woman when you have such good art and character work on another female character. Rucka and Evely will make you believe Cheetah is a good and whole person which will pay dividends when she appears next.