In a fantastic return to form, Wonder Woman stormed into DC's Rebirth era two weeks ago. Her Rebirth comic provided the perfect jumping-off point for Wonder Woman's arc in this new continuity, as Diana's existential contemplation lead to an important revelation — she has been deceived as to her own origins. This begs so many questions, about who Wonder Woman really is and where she comes from, what this deception is and whether it has anything to do with a certain reality-adjusting Doctor.
Issue 1 doesn't answer any of these questions. Instead, we follow Diana deep into the jungle, as she seeks out help from a surprising source. Meanwhile, writer Greg Rucka shifts focus to two of Diana's most important allies — Steve Trevor and Etta Candy.
The inclusion of Diana's longest running love interest, and her best friend, is a fantastic move on Rucka's part. These two characters have been part of Diana's story ever since her creation in the 1940s, and they'll both be appearing in the 2017 Wonder Woman film.
Grounding The Story
Wonder Woman is a tricky character to get right for a few reasons. One of the key elements of Diana's character is her involvement in the world of mythology and magic, which is difficult to ground in reality. Diana is definitely at her best when writers really throw her into this mythic role — one of the highlights of the New 52 was Wonder Woman's role in the Batwoman comic, blending Greek mythology with gothic horror in a really interesting way.
Rucka has taken an interesting route in the 2016 Wonder Woman, balancing Diana's quest with Steve and Etta's story, which seems to be firmly placed in modern warfare.
This is an interesting negative image to Diana's battles with jungle monsters: As she chases down a goddess, this quest is contrasted with the harsh realities of war. Right now, it's difficult to see how all of this will come together, but the clash of these two disparate worlds could be an amazing commentary on Diana's role as both a hero of legend and the god of war.
From a purely character-based point of view, these new versions of Steve and Etta are perfect. We've seen darker sides to Steve before, and it's nice to have him reinvented as a gruff soldier with a kind heart. Etta is really interesting — gone is the candy-loving brawler from the Golden Age comics, and in her place is coldly collected military strategist.
Steve and Etta's history with Diana is teased but not explained, which is delightfully intriguing. Steve's picture of Diana could turn out to be a pertinent plot hint: It's a mugshot, featuring Diana in her post-Crisis costume. Considering costumes denote the different continuities, we have to wonder if this is another hint of how Diana seems to be able to transcend DC's frequent reboots. Or this could just be an aesthetic choice. Only time will tell.
An Old Foe, A New Ally
Away from the gunfire, in a far-flung jungle, Diana hunts down a fearsome huntress, and her arch nemesis. Determined to hit all the key elements of the Wonder Woman story, Rucka brings in Cheetah, who has fully embraced her role as a goddess.
Cheetah has been an important part of Diana's story for decades, right from her colorful, vaguely sapphic Golden Age origins.
She's had a few different incarnations over the years (or merely different aliases, if you believe the New 52 version of events). Ultimately one thing remains the same — the human host is possessed by the a goddess of the hunt, who has a serious rivalry with Diana of Themiscyra.
Rebirth won't be the first time Diana has worked with Cheetah. The two have put aside their differences a fair few times in the past to work together, but always part as bitter rivals. It looks like this new version of the tale will really lean into Cheetah's animalistic fury, and so far her battle with Diana is beautifully done.
It's worth noting that in the past Barbara Ann Minerva (Cheetah's current host) has been obsessed with Diana's Lasso of Truth — as an archaeologist the item fascinates her, and she's tried to steal it many a time. For a while this was Cheetah's main point of contention with Diana, but in recent years their conflict has shifted to focus on their rivalry.
But the lasso seems to be a major plot point in the new comic. In the Rebirth issue, Diana used it to divine the truth about how her life was a lie. And now, DC's official synopsis for Wonder Woman Issue 1 points out that the lasso will no longer work for Diana.
Although it's not directly addressed in Issue 1 (and maybe it should have been), this could turn out to be a major plot thread throughout the comic. And if we're focusing on the Lasso of Truth, maybe Cheetah will remember her obsession with the item.
Ultimately, Issue 1 contains plenty of interesting plot points, even if the plot itself doesn't move along much. The inclusion of all the major players in the Wonder Woman story is definitely another good move on Rucka's part, and we can't wait to see how it all plays out.