With Wonder Woman’s big screen debut this week, it’s the perfect time for a book of stories that showcase different sides of her character. Is it good?
Writers: Greg Rucka, Various
Artists: Nicola Scott, Various, Liam Sharp
Publisher: DC Comics
In this super-sized issue, we get four stories from a wide variety of writers, including the team on the current Wonder Woman Rebirth book, Greg Rucka & Nicola Scott. Each story is a snapshot, taking Diana around the world, interacting with different cultures and trying to solve different problems. I really enjoyed how different each story and art style was, with the connection of Diana’s core character traits of compassion and justice.
And Then There Were Three
In this tie-in story to Rucka’s current Wonder Woman run, both Batman and Superman are separately investigating the mysterious new superhero who has showed up on the scene, when Wonder Woman herself confronts them for spying on her. Rucka is obviously having fun with this story, giving both Bruce and Clark some nice character moments with Alfred and Lois respectively (I’m a sucker for Alfred/Bruce banter). We also get a glimpse of the tense relationship between Clark and Bruce, and of Bruce’s potential attraction to Diana (yes, I ship it).
Nicola Scott was the star of the Rebirth series, and I’m so happy to see her back with this character. I love the details she puts into her panels, especially the facial expressions on each character. There’s a wonderful, illustrative quality to her work; it reminds me of what I love about Norman Rockwell. The colors match the energy in the story, with warm, bold work.
In Defense of Truth and Justice
This is probably my least favorite story of the issue, but it’s still a solid work. King Shark is on trial in Markovia for a crime he didn’t commit. A fellow citizen tries to stop it, but it takes Wonder Woman to help reveal the truth. The story actually works very well, with Vita Avala showing how easy it is for a criminal to be set up, and how hard it can be to stop “justice” once the system ramps up. There are some nice character moments with the various members of the Markovian government, and I especially loved King Shark’s interactions with Diana.
What didn’t work for me was the art, and it was most due to the colors. I was really surprised, because normally I love Jordie Bellaire’s work, but the choice to make the Markovian military uniforms dark greyish-green, with giant grey King Shark, makes those panels became just a giant wash of muddiness. Claire Roe’s line work has lots of thick shadowing, and while the darker palette makes thematic sense for the setting, it needed a punch up. The flashback panels and explosions were beautiful, and the final panels on the ocean with a warmer color scheme worked much better.
The Curse and the Honor
A lovely and complex little story, with Diana being asked to take a terrible action for the greater good. It’s tough to care about a character in the short space of a comic, and even harder in just a few pages of one, but Michael Moreci does an excellent job bringing Kikori to life and making you care about him. He also shows you Diana’s effort to avoid what has to be done until there is absolutely no choice, and her acceptance that it was the right thing to do.
Overall, Stephanie Hans’ art is gorgeous. The simple color scheme makes each burst of color really pop, and the flashbacks are striking. However, there’s a major misstep in how she colored the skin tones – there’s a strange greenish tint to both Diana and Kikori, making them look kind of undead. It really took me out of the story.
The Last Kaiju
Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing blew me away last year with their comic Joyride, and they bring that same fun, exciting quality to my favorite story in this issue. In a great mash-up, Wonder Woman takes on a recently emerged kaiju before realizing there’s more going on than your typical giant monster. The team does a fantastic job of mixing action with backstory, and I never counted on feeling sorry for a kaiju.
David Lafuente kills it with the art and colors; his action sequences are bold and exciting, and I love the exaggerated style he draws Diana in. The flashback is fabulous – I love the use of Diana’s lasso as a panel layout. And if that final kaiju image isn’t the cutest dang thing I’ve ever seen. This entire story made me smile.
I think this is a great issue overall and you absolutely get your $4.99 worth. My one nitpick is that while three of the four artists on the stories were women, not a single writer is a woman, which seems like an oversight for a Wonder Woman book in 2017.