Among a number of other comics, I picked up DC Comics’ Free Comic Book Day issue that features Wonder Woman, hoping to learn a little more about the character in the DCU right now, since I haven’t yet read recently titles starring the character.
This “special edition” comic was written by Greg Rucka, and drawn by Nicola Scott, with colors by Romulo Fajardo and letters by Jodi Wynne. There were about 20 pages of sequential art and many ads for Wonder Woman products, and of course for the upcoming film. If you’ve followed the work of Rucka and Scott at all, you might have suspected that this would be a high-quality comic, and indeed it was.
The writing is carefully paced and designed to introduce you to Diana’s world on Themyscira with her mother, the Queen, and many friends, tutors, and companions in an environment essentially protected by the gods and hidden from the world. We see a young Diana daily life learning hunting skills, interacting with friends and family, but always standing out as something of a dreamer. She’s presented as someone who looks to the “horizon” and not up at the night sky during astronomy lessons. She’s curious about the world “out there” in the way that others are not, or are happy to be free from. Unlike some of the other women in her community, she has never been “out there” and doesn’t have the same desire to avoid the outer world.
The storyline is specifically intercut, though, with flashes of experiences from Steve Trevor’s life in the military, moving up the ranks, and finally seeing active service, alongside a close friend who marries and has a child along the way. The writing is structured to teach out about Steve’s personality and influences in a similar way as you’ve learned those that have shaped Diana, and obviously to place these two in juxtaposition as parallel characters. Both Steve and Diana train for physical tasks, interact with their peers, and seem called to some bigger task, though Diana is the more clearly restless one, whereas Steve seems content with his progress through life, aside from being perhaps a little lonely in social situations.
Nicola Scott’s artwork on this comic is gorgeous. It evokes the far away and mythical tone of Diana’s isolated paradise and creates a whole cast of characters that help outline Diana’s world and life experiences. She infuses Amazonian beauty with a sense of wonder, but not all her female characters have to be presented in a glamorous way in every panel. They are presented as inquisitive, active, caring, engaging, and suggest a complete social group with customs and traditions, and this is all conveyed through Scott’s eye for detail.
Another thing that others have probably commented on, but stands to be said again, is that Steve Trevor is presented as glamorously as Diana from time to time. Meaning that if there is any objectification going on in the artwork of Diana’s beauty, the same can be said in equal measure for Scott’s presentation of Trevor. That’s a good balance to have, reminding us that focusing on physical attractiveness in comic characters, or even sexualizing can go both ways, and this is what equal presentation of genders looks like.
The comic concludes by setting up the conditions by which Trevor and Diana meet, a known origin story of their relationship, but still told in a fresh and dynamic way. This FCBD comic may well make you remember why you love Wonder Woman mythology in the first place, and certainly stands as a great introduction to her character and her world in current comics.
This comic is a reprint of the first issue of Rucka and Scott’s work on Wonder Woman in the Rebirth line, Wonder Woman, Volume 2: Year One, so it sets the reader up to discover and follow those existing comics after encountering her world here again or for the first time.