DC Rebirth is fully underway, and the semi-reboot kicks off in full force in Wonder Woman's new solo comic series. After. Dr Manhattan (yes, Watchmen's Dr. Manhattan) mysteriously erased 10 years from history, the multiverse was thrown into turmoil. For some characters this just means their stories experience a bit of a revival — in Green Arrow's case that means restoring a lot of essential characterization that has been missing in recent years.
The same could be said for Diana's new series. Comic book writer Greg Rucka used his return to DC to make some pithy comments about Wonder Woman's conflicting and contradictory origin stories, via Diana's surprisingly meta narration.
But this isn't tongue-in-cheek nods to DC's perpetually shifting continuity. Rather, it seems that Diana's identity crisis is because she can quite literally see beyond the changes to the timeline, which is the most groundbreaking thing DC has done with her character in some time.
Getting To The Truth Of Things
One of the staples of Diana's story, back in the Golden Age at least, wasn't her skills as a warrior or her love of warfare. Truth was what Diana valued above all else, which is fitting as her creator William Marston invented the lie detector. And yet this seems to have gotten lost recently, as Diana took up Ares's mantle as the God of War in the New 52.
Wonder Woman: Rebirth uses this as the jumping off point, as Diana experiences a crisis of sorts. She is clearly troubled with the contradictory nature of her character, torn between war and truth. Examining Ares's helmet, Diana reflects on how truth is the first casualty of war. Then she crumples the indestructible helmet in her bare hands. It's a great moment.
Casting away her sword, Diana takes up her Lasso of Truth, and this, this is the moment where her story gets back on track. Using the lasso on herself, Diana attempts to solve the mystery of all her intersecting and clashing origin stories, discovering that much of what she thinks is true is just smoke and mirrors.
On a thematic level, this is a fantastic return to Diana's roots as the defender of truth before all else. It's also a really interesting use of the philosophical concept of truth; being compelled by her lasso to tell the objective truth means that Diana can learn things she did not know before. And from a story perspective, this takes Wonder Woman's character to new heights.
Beyond The Timeline Shift
At first, Diana's narration could have been chocked up to some surprisingly astute meta-commentary on her published history. But as the story wears on, Diana literally smashes through previous versions of her story as she embarks on a mission to find out the truth of what's happened to her — and the costume she dons on the way isn't just a nod to another version of her character.
So what could this mean? There are two possibilities for Diana's solo story. It could be that her quest for answers leads her to discover Dr. Manhattan's alterations to the timeline, and the reason for DC's entire rebirth. That certainly would be an interesting way to tie her story into the current overarching narrative.
Or maybe the changes to Wonder Woman's story are actually the result of someone else meddling in her personal continuity. This would make her solo series more self contained, but it seems like too much of a coincidence for this to happen at the same time as the continuity reset. So my money's on Diana discovering that Manhattan is behind it all.
Beyond the plot possibilities, the mere fact that Diana is experiencing this crisis, that she's questioning her memories and her entire existence, adds an interesting element to the character. This new comic series could imbue Diana with new powers — the ability to see beyond timeline shifts and occasional DC reboots. Which could be a very interesting path for her character to take, and it's a really interesting development of her core theme of truth. Nicely done, Rucka.