[Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers.]
Wonder Woman #1 is written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by Liam Sharp with colors by Laura Martin. On store shelves 6/22/16.
Wonder Woman was touted as one of the highlights of the New 52 era. While David Finch’s run was questionable, Brian Azzarello’s run reaffirmed the warrior princess’ place as a staple character in the DC universe. After reading this first issue, it seems as though Rucka and Sharp are attempting to recreate that same kind of magic.
Azzarello began his take on Wonder Woman by emphasizing her role as a goddess, while Finch strove to make her more relatable to women everywhere. It’s apparent that Rucka is returning Diana to her humanitarian roots as the first issue dedicates a portion of the storyline to a war in a third world country where Rucka introduces the infamous supporting characters Steve Trevor and Etta Candy. However, the other half of the issue chronicles Diana’s journey through the jungle, the trek she began within her Rebirth special.
Between the two sequences showcased in this first issue, we get very powerful first impressions of familiar characters. The entire issue seems darker and edgier than the previous runs and I’m not sure if it’s the art or the writing that deserves the credit, but it suits the series. Right out of the gates we’re introduced to a Diana that evokes confidence and power, something that had been seriously missing in the last run. Despite a moment where the issue got a little text heavy with some context as to what was happening, the issue packs in a good amount of action which provides an opportunity for Sharp to debut his Wonder Woman skills.
I’m confident virtually all readers will be singing Rucka’s praises after reading this issue and seeing the direction this series has decided to take. The character reads like her Silver Age portrayal, but it has been adapted for contemporary events while blending Azzarello’s mythological influences. While Rucka can only do so much in shaping this new adaptation, Sharp delivers some beautifully illustrated panels depicting the goddess looking every bit of the part.
David Finch is an amazing artist as we all know, but his adaptation of Wonder Woman looked more adult-sized doll than warrior princess. Sharp is able to to capture Diana’s beauty and intensity simultaneously, making look more like a goddess and less like a runway model. There are some stunning visuals that deserve a lasting look (or a second read-through if you can’t wait to finish the issue). Unfortunately, the art wasn’t entirely consistent throughout the issue.
The sole negative aspect regarding this issue is the art. It’s obvious Sharp takes his time creating some highly detailed panels, but there’s a noticeable gap in the level of quality. I don’t know if Sharp just couldn’t dedicate enough time to every panel or if it was the fill in artists that couldn’t match Sharp’s work, but there are some scenes where some facial expressions are looking particularly odd. Let’s hope that was a one time thing.
Be ready for a Wonder Woman issue that feels significantly different than what we’ve witnessed in the New 52. Wonder Woman looks and feels so much more powerful with the new creative team at the helm and you’re immediately drawn in. Rucka is able to build momentum and anticipation with every panel until you’re met with the final page that’s both visually and thematically stunning. And it’s only issue one. Buckle up buckeroos, I have a feeling Wonder Woman will be a post-Rebirth chart topper.