Steve Trevor and his Air Force colleagues have crashed on Paradise Island. Trevor is the only survivor and while he recovers, the Council of Themyscira discuss what the brush against Man’s World could mean, and what to do.
Is it the will of the Amazons’ patrons or the first act by enemy gods? Queen Hippolyta persuades her sisters that ‘the survivor, he is the key’ and a champion must take him home and learn if war god Ares is at work. A contest will decide who goes, the winner fully knowing they will lose their immortality in the process.
As they discuss the situation, Hippolyta’s daughter Diana watches the recovering Steve, and when he wakes, they make a connection.
The Amazons work through the night, repairing – and changing – Steve’s plane, and preparing weapons for their champion. In the morning, the contest is held and a winner emerges.
So, that’s part two of Greg Rucka’s tweaked take on the origins of Wonder Woman. No longer does Diana don a mask to defy her mother’s wishes that she take part in the contest. Instead of being familiar with Man’s World via Hippolyta’s Magic Sphere, Amazons are stunned by the guns carried by the airmen. The Invisible Plane begins as Steve’s transport. Bullets and Bracelets is no longer a game played by Amazons, it’s something Diana invents here to prove she’s the Amazon most qualified to go out into the world. Unfortunately, we don’t see this – Rucka knows that we know how the story goes.
In which case, why are we getting the origin again at all, with changes that don’t seem to add anything? In the case of Hippolyta being fine with Diana competing, the change takes away from Diana, removing the wilfulness, the defiance that characterises Diana’s generally loving relationship with her mother. If we’re not getting Steve waking to his ‘angel’, what iconic-moment-to-be are we given in its place?
Over and over, Nicola Scott has proven herself a terrific comic book artist and here her work is pretty…. well, pretty. Without an inker, her art appears more delicate than previous DC work; generally, it’s lovely, but the money shot – Diana appearing in costume for the first time – isn’t as awesome as it should be.
There’s no dynamism, Diana looks like she’s trying not to stumble, and her over-large head lacks a determined expression. The overall impression is of a bunch of aunts watching their favourite niece show off her new outfit.
One panel, though, stands apart from the rest of the book, as Scott and colourist Romulo Fajardo Jr break away from the quiet compositions for a second.
Scott and Fajardo also produce the cover, which again suffers from Unfortunate Head Syndrome, even allowing for perspective. Frank Cho’s variant, though, is gorgeous all round; I wonder if the lack of colour is due to it being a replacement image – you’ve likely seen the well-documented disagreements between Cho and Rucka. Whatever, it looks pretty darn wonderful.
I’m just not feeling this comic. I’ve read two issues of the dreadfully slow Lies storyline and two issues of the awfully genteel origin and I’m wishing I were reading daft but zippy Bronze Age stories. Lots of action, a touch of soap, mysteries galore… While Phil Jimenez this week gives us the packed-to-the-gills Superwoman, Rucka wastes panel time with bits of unnecessary dialogue – enough preamble and procedure people, just get to the point!
Wonder Woman isn’t terrible. It just seems to be for someone other than me. I’ll give each storyline one more issue, see if things finally get moving. Otherwise, it’s time for another of my depressingly frequent breaks from a favourite character.