I know, I know. It’s been a while. It’s always been a while, these days. But to be fair, despite all the general turmoil that is ‘Rebirth’, things have been quite quiet in the comics world for our Diana over the past few weeks, so I’m not horribly behind.
There has been movie news, of course. Licensing Expo 2016 has revealed all manner of costumes and props from next year’s movie; there have been Justice League set visits, with details of what the Amazons will be like, as well the fact that Wonder Woman will get a spear and her armour may get its red colour from congealed blood (do they not have Vanish on Themyscira?). Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition has been released in the US and there’s a new trailer for that, too, with a bit more fight from our Diana.
But there’s also been comics news. You may remember the recent, long-running, very tedious ‘Savage Dawn‘ storyline that ultimately led to the death of nu52 Superman. Somewhat weirdly, two additional comics were supposed to be part of that storyline: Superman-Wonder Woman #30-31. Except they never got published in the big scramble to get Rebirth out the door. But now they’re going to be included in the collected ‘Savage Dawn’ graphic novel. What’s in them? Who knows.
And current Wonder Woman artist Liam Sharp is also interviewed in DC All-Access, where it’s revealed that the likes of Ares and Dr Psycho will be showing up, reimagined, at some point in the forseeable future. And that Wonder Woman is currently 28 years old. You hear that, Geoff Johns? How comes she’s as old as Grail then?
After the jump, I’ll be looking at Diana’s main appearances in comics over the past few weeks: Wonder Woman (Rebirth) #1 and Justice League: Rebirth #1. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out before then that Justice League #52 saw Diana a bit miffed (but no more than that) that Lex Luthor not only is wearing Superman’s symbol, he’s also bought the Daily Planet purely so he can own nu52 Superman’s cape.
Meanwhile, alternative Diana and alternative, slightly power-mad Superman aren’t getting along very well over in the Injustice: Gods Amongst Us: Year Five #27. But at least they’re getting on better than he and Flash are getting on.
And another alternative Diana popped up in Dark Knight III #5 to pass a bloody comment on Brexit.
I’m guessing she’ll argue that Queen In Parliament requires an Act to be passed before Article 50 can be triggered. But I might be reading into it too much.
Wonder Woman (Rebirth) #1
Wondy’s still a bit confused about what’s true and what’s not, so goes visiting another goddess to find out. Trouble is, said goddess is her old enemy, Cheetah.
Is it any good?
So first, let’s begin by saying I’m not entirely sure I’ve got the name of the comic right. Is this Wonder Woman #1 or Wonder Woman (Rebirth) #1? I know it’s not Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1, since we’ve already had that. I think officially it’s supposed to be a reset of the numbering system to Wonder Woman #1, but as I don’t think there’s a Volume number as in the good old days, which would have made this Volume 5 if the nu52 was Volume 4, I’ll be calling this current run Wonder Woman (Rebirth) to avoid confusion. At least until they remove the Rebirth banner from the top of the covers. It seems better as a name than Comixology’s Wonder Woman (2016-) anyway.
The issue itself is a straight continuation of Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1, with our Wondy looking for answers (as well as Themyscira) but finding little by way of plot, beyond a few beastmen to beat up before she finds her way to the new-look Cheetah.
This a-plot is all very reminiscent of Brian Azzarello’s initial issue, but in a good way, with writer Greg Rucka focusing on the mythic while being reverential and respectful, simultaneously giving us a Diana who is both reverential and respectful, too. As before, she tries to avoid a fight if she can, but if she can’t, she’ll simply win it.
As well as giving Cheetah a makeover, the rather talented Liam Sharp has given some other characters a bit of a transformation, too. Over in the b-plot, it looks like one Steve Trevor is back on the scene. True, he’s not spoken to Diana in a while (apparently), but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t keep a goofy picture of her in his wallet.
Yep, it’s official: Diana is 6’2″, although it’s unclear if that’s in boots or not. But that’s all rather lovely writing from Rucka, with some of that promised Rebirth ‘love and emotion’ shining off the page.
The other character getting a radical change is one Etta Candy. Etta, of course, has had many different looks over the years, but when last we saw her in the DC Universe, back in Superman #48, she looked like this:
But it seems she’s had a promotion, ate her candy and been to the same beautician as Amanda Waller, because now she’s ordering Steve about and looks like this:
It’s again a typical piece of ‘diversification’ by Rucka that iterates and changes while honouring the past, which is how this issue differentiates itself from Azzarello’s work.
All in all, a very good start, even if the series has yet to stick a flag in the ground and say “This is what I am.”
Rating: 6/7 (Artwork: 7/7)
Justice League: Rebirth #1
The nu52 Justice League have to face a giant alien that’s taking over the population. But can they do it without a Superman of their own? And will the pre-nu52 Superman ever come out of hiding to help them.
Is it any good?
With Geoff Johns’ Very Important Justice League run coming to an end, practically uninterrupted since issue #1 of the nu52, one of the big questions was whether he’d be using the title to shepherd the DC Universe post-Rebirth as he had in the nu52. But with Johns now playing in his sandpit with his Watchmen action figures in the separate Rebirth title for the next 18 months or so, it seems not. So who has Justice League duties instead?
Why, it’s plucky Brit Bryan Hitch. You remember him – he wrote the rather good but continuity-puzzling Justice League of America. And despite the lovely Tony Daniel cover of Justice League: Rebirth #1 suggesting otherwise, he’s brought the increasingly impressive Daniel Henriques along with him.
Actually, if you read Justice League: Rebirth #1, you won’t be too surprised to learn Hitch is behind it, since despite being the title that brings pre-nu52 Superman into the Rebirth Justice League fold…
…the issue makes many references to his Justice League of America run, including the league’s tussle with Kryptonian god Rao. Thematically, it’s also quite similar, with its global alien mind-control against which the League have to come up with a defence. It’s not as smart and a bit more jolly than said run, as you might expect from Rebirth; but also as you’d expect from Rebirth, as well as Diana’s shiny new Rebirth outfit, Justice League Rebirth wants to deal with the love. In particular, someone’s finally noticed that maybe it’s not that easy for Diana to see a new Superman wandering around the place, not so long after she saw her beloved almost-fiancé Superman die.
Also interesting, perhaps for the whole of Rebirth, perhaps not, is that Diana now has a new weapon. Or rather, she’s kept hold of an old one from Justice League of America: Zeus’ thunderbolt.
Whether that’ll take off and become canon or whether it’ll go the way of Diana’s sword bracelets, remains to be seen. It’s early days yet and, of course, Batman V Superman recently made Gail Simone’s Volume 3 “lightning bracelets” canon…
…so it could get ignored by everyone else in favour of that even, but it’s a potentially exciting addition to the Wonder Woman arsenal. Assuming Zeus doesn’t want it back, of course.
Again, a promising start, if a little lightweight, and another title to look forward to in the DC Rebirth Universe.
Rating: 5/7 (Artwork: 6/7)
Disclaimer: Owing to the small fortune it would take to buy every single DC comic each week, this is not a guaranteed rundown of all the comics that feature Wonder Woman. If you know of any I’ve missed, email me or leave a comment below and I’ll cover them the following week