Wonder Woman #25
Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Bilquis Evely, Liam Sharp and Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Lettered by Jodi Wynne
Published by DC Comics
Review by Matthew Sibley
‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10
Despite marking Greg Rucka’s return to a company and character he’d long since left behind, his second Wonder Woman run has felt understated in a sense, largely defined by character action, like the choke hold that Diana put Barbara Ann in early on, over action in the more traditional sense. As his run comes to a close that remains true, there is no knockout brawl between Diana and an arch-nemesis to partake in that spans the full issue, but instead the results of the actions already taken to consider.
Less a conclusion and more a coda to Rucka’s tenure, this anniversary issue brings those final threads together, but with the run having functioned as a tragedy until now, tying them up in a neat little bow is impossible. Rucka picks up with Diana finishing up some Justice League business with the rest of the members. Despite being the main action in the issue, it’s brief, and the creative team is more interested in the aftermath and reactions to how Diana deals with it. And so, it brings it together as best it can, including the short story of Rucka and Nicola Scott’s from the recent Annual, but there’s something markedly different about her characterization initially, which is noted within the issue and that change goes to demonstrate how this run has affected Diana and shaken her faith.
That element to the story might find resolution of sorts here, but there are a lot of other balls that are still up in the air as Etta’s status report to Sasha reveals no-one knows where the Cheetah is, among other details. While there’s a sense of anti-climax as a result of this decision, it allows these stories to be furthered should future writers decide to pick up the threads. When it comes to Diana and Steve, their relationship has been the center of the run and a through line connecting past and present. That aspect of the story is the heart of it all, the one which dares to break away from the Greek tragedy and while the other threads aren’t able to provide much warmth with the way the issue leaves off with them, this love story is able to provide enough to cover for them all.
Even when reaching this crescendo, the creative team avoid making it a moment for gaudy showmanship, retaining that understated quality, some would consider it minimalism. Both Bilquis Evely and Liam Sharp contribute to this coda and what’s most remarkable about their art’s expressiveness is the way they achieve this level of emotion with traditional page layouts, showing what the form is capable of on a base level. Romulo Fajardo, Jr. colors the full issue, giving it a seamless quality, and makes it harder to discern where Evely’s work ends and Sharp’s work begins. The pair have styles of a similar vein yet different textures thanks to the intensity of their line work and the coloring helps to bring them together, finding a healthy compromise of a softer edge instead of asking either to compromise their style and imitate the other.
Most of the art is on display as, despite the issue’s amount of dialogue, Jodi Wynne gives these conversations space. It helps that Rucka’s script avoids diatribes, but at no point does a page feel overwhelmed by text or incorrectly laid out to accommodate this talk. While Wynne hasn’t required the use of different speech bubbles to discern between our language and that of the Amazons very often since Year One, it makes a brief appearance here and the way that Wynne transitions between fonts and bubbles, then back to the traditional ones without the reading experience being affected proves how well-crafted the lettering is.
The harmony of the creative team has been front and center throughout, a team with a single vision – to show what makes Diana Wonder Woman in the first place over creating an interpretation that would be more at home in an Elseworlds tale. A tale rich with symbolism and dense with meaning that never lost sight of what Diana represents even as her world was shaken up. I can only hope that this run provides a sense of stability going forward for her, after countless origin stories, having had her core ideals re-cemented and then her story furthered. That said, even if this does itself subject to a future writer deeming this tale another lie, I have faith that this will go down as one of the classics, as fondly remembered as Rucka’s original run, as a compassionate conclusion that stands as affirmation of everything Diana can be.