Wonder Woman #2
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Nicola Scott and Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Lettering by Jodi Wynne
Published by DC Comics
'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10
The debut issue of Wonder Woman came directly out of her Rebirth one-shot, but #2 is something else entirely. Greg Rucka gets to do his own “Year One” take on Diana Prince, and he gets a new art team to help him pull double duty: Nicola Scott and Romulo Fajardo, Jr. One of the keys to DC’s latest relaunch has been making characters a little bit easier for readers to dig into. Putting Diana’s origins, which are historically all over the place, alongside a new adventure allows readers new and old to enjoy the book as they gain a deeper understanding of the character. But does that work? On some level, it breaks some of the “rules” of pacing, and while whether or not it works can be up for debate, there is still plenty of good here.
The ultimate good with “Year One” is Nicola Scott. The Australian artist is a perfect fit for Wonder Woman and her world. It should come as no surprise that DC would tap a creator that is so known for depicting strong female characters in not only flattering ways but somewhat more realistic ones. Sure, Wonder Woman still has an idealistic body and proportions, but this is a far cry from the twisted proportions of David Finch or the cheesecake of a J. Scott Campbell.
Scott’s characters are generally very natural in the space they occupy. The scene between Diana and her mother is heartfelt and genuine — two words that aren’t often used to describe many superhero books, let alone solely the art. But Scott is able to draw so much out of her panels that readers are able to gain so much more information from the page than what the dialogue gives us. That’s how comic books are supposed to work. Scott isn’t without her missteps, though — there are a few angles that she can’t quite get a handle on that distort some of the characters in odd ways. Fajardo’s coloring, meanwhile, is simple and effective. One of his biggest strengths is the way he lights a scene. It’s very natural and despite a lack of heavy inking, he's able to create great contrast when he needs it. One minor nitpick that is a little jarring on the whole is the amount of white space on some of the pages, causing some of the art to look somewhat unfinished.
Greg Rucka’s script, meanwhile, brings some unique strengths, even if those same strengths occasionally threaten the overall consistency of the narrative. It follows both Diana Prince and Steve Trevor, jumping between the two as they live their lives leading to the moment of their meeting. Overall, it’s a good kind of “star-crossed lovers” set-up that shows us just how similar the two are while also making note of their differences. As the book progresses, Rucka is able to utilize some clever transitions that do even more to enhance that connection between the two characters even though they haven’t yet met. The problem mostly lies with the dialogue. The art and pacing is so effective, there’s almost no reason for any of it. That’s not to say that the dialogue is bad, but it’s kind of bland and it doesn’t really teach readers anything about the characters. But Rucka does succeed in giving us a better take on this part of Diana’s history than even Grant Morrison’s recent Wonder Woman: Earth One.
Wonder Woman #2 is a solid installment, even if it’s a little jarring to get this issue right after a cliffhanger in the other arc. Hopefully, these two arcs will wing together in some way down the line so it doesn’t just feel like two different books, but for now they’re worlds apart. Nicola Scott is the star of this issue. She really makes Rucka’s pacing sing, even if her art is so effective that it renders most of the dialogue useless. This is a much slower start than what we saw from Rucka and company in “The Lies,” but it works as a set-up for a “Year One” story. Maybe we really are getting the definitive take on Diana’s origins that we’ve been waiting for.