Perhaps one of the biggest titles to be relaunched in DC’s Rebirth is Wonder Woman. After a run that was not that well received by fans or critics, DC has handed off the book to Greg Rucka, who had previously written a beloved run of the character in the past. Is it good?
Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1 (DC Comics)
Something feels wrong to Wonder Woman. She keeps having these conflicting thoughts and memories of the past–the memories of her origins and life from both pre-Flashpoint and post-Flashpoint. The story seems to keep changing and she doesn’t know what to believe anymore. As such, it’s time to find out.
Like with the other Rebirth issues, this acts a prequel/prologue/#0 issue to the new upcoming series. It’s here to establish what the main goal and focus of the new series will be about, the tone we may get during the run, and hopefully will end up capturing our interest. Thankfully, this comic succeeds very well at all that and I’m more than curious to see where Greg Rucka will be taking the character, especially since it will have two storylines going on (one in the present and one in the past).
The issue is about Diana questioning who she is and her own memories, trying to understand what is real and what isn’t. While maybe a tad melodramatic in the narration, how her doubts are presented to us and how drastic they appear do work. You really feel and understand her confusion, why it is constantly nagging at her, and why it would make her want to figure out what is going on. It’s a good dilemma and an intriguing direction to go with the character given the events of DC Universe: Rebirth issue. My only concern is that Rucka may try to completely wipe out everything that has come before the New 52. Now I understand that there are less than pleasant concepts and decisions made with Wondy during Azzarello and Finch’s runs, but doing so would wipe out the good ideas, potential that has yet to be tapped, or runs in general that people may have enjoyed. I can only speculate of course, but it is a concern for sure.
Besides that, there isn’t a whole lot to discuss with the writing or story, given that this is mostly just a setup issue. What we do get with the writing is good at least. While again, the narration can be a bit much in some early parts (especially when she discusses her superhero name), it does fit the tone of the book Wonder Woman’s character. Pacing is just right–neither too slow or too fast, with maybe one sequence at the beginning a little too decompressed. I do like how Wonder Woman’s backstory and personality are introduced; it fits in rather naturally with the narrative and not awkwardly crammed in. This approach is good and works especially well for newcomers.
The artwork is split between Matthew Clark, who does the majority of the issue, and Liam Sharp, who does the last few pages. While a bit odd to have two different artists work on what is essentially (at least in spirit) the first issue of a series, the presence of two artists work from transitional meta, or however you want to call it, point of view. Clark draws all of the parts for when Diana is still dressed in her traditional Wonder Woman garb from the start of the New 52 (the new redesign the Finches did is not present here), while Sharp draws her in her new outfit for Rebirth. When it switches between the artists, it’s like it signifies the character transitioning from one phase to another and leaving behind the lies that may be attached to it.
Other than all of that speculation and interpretation, I find that both of the artists did well here. Both of them do a fantastic job depicting and drawing Wonder Woman, especially showing her as powerful, strong, and imposing during the action (I especially like the small smirk she has when she breaks one guy’s assault rifle with just one hand). The layouts are well put together and everything is easy to follow along with. The double page spreads are gorgeous looking as they pop up and present a scene, like the ending fight scene or Wondy punching a mirror. Sharp is a bit heavier on the detail and inking than Clark (and his inker), but it does help to distinguish the art styles from each other. The only negatives I have are with Sharp, who seems to have some difficulty with facial expressions (Diana always seems to have this look of disinterest) and his musculature can be inconsistent. Heck, at one point, Wondy’s arm disappears in a fight scene. Hopefully his upcoming work on the series gets better.
But according to Dictionary.com, it means: “a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.” Who knew there was so much to the word Wonder?
Is It Good?
Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1 is a great prologue to the upcoming new series. It sets the stage very well, and the writing was solid enough and the artwork looked pretty good for the most part. While I have some small concerns, I am very eager to see what Rucka and his art team have in store for the series.
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