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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.
I read 6 comics last week: Wonder Woman #12, Poe Dameron #9, Spider-Man #10, Star Trek Boldly Go #3, Action Comics #969 and Detective Comics #946.
The best comic I read last week was Wonder Woman #12.
Wonder Woman has been a consistently great read since the DC Rebirth initiative unfolded this past summer. It has cleverly told stories on two separate tracks: one taking place in the present and one playing out in the past. They are related stories, most notably tied together by a strong and familiar supporting cast including Steve Trevor, Barbara Minerva (the Cheetah) and a nicely redesigned Etta Candy. They are also linked by a very well written Wonder Woman – a character that writer Greg Rucka knows well from a celebrated run he had on the title years ago.
He has returned to re-define Wonder Woman in this new DC continuity and he was the absolute perfect choice to handle the title.
I’ve been more partial to the “origin” story playing out in the even numbered issues of this book. Told with a definite sweetness and, well, wonder, this origin arc is both updated and familiar. Using the well worn framework and plot points, Rucka recounts Diana’s first contact with “Man’s World” in a compelling and wide-eyed fashion. Wonder Woman is perfectly portrayed. She’s awestruck by all she encounters. She’s loving and friendly. And she tries to avoid violence at every turn which is a core element of her character (take that, United Nations). She is readily connected to her supporting cast and the reveal of the “big bad” at the end of the issue – a big bad which ties this story to the one taking place in the present – was very well delivered.
Rucka knows what he is doing and DC would be wise to avoid interference in his work and tie him to the title for a very long time.
Unfortunately, I read that artist Nicola Scott is leaving the title after this first arc and that is truly as shame. Her work is really incredible and she seems perfectly suited to draw Wonder Woman. Her Diana is striking and commanding while still approachable and compassionate. Scott draws Wonder Woman with a restrained power and a definite grace. Losing her will be significant for the book. There are not many who approach this level of mastery of and connection to a character.
Wonder Woman is a terrific book. Hopefully it can maintain this quality into next year, Wonder Woman’s 76th and, perhaps, biggest yet as the Gal Gadot film opens in the summer. If the film makers can come to striking the tone set in this book, they will be well on their way to delivering a great movie.