Ricky Church reviews Wonder Woman #4…
“Wonder Woman Year One” part two! Paradise has been breached, Ares stirs, and the Amazons must answer with a champion of their own…one who is willing to sacrifice her home amongst her sisters to save a world she has never seen.
SEE ALSO: Check out a preview of Wonder Woman #4
The past is visited again in Wonder Woman #4 as Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott continue to tell Diana’s origin story in ‘Year One’. This issue takes us through some of the more familiar beats of Diana’s youth told in various other tales or continuities, but that doesn’t stop it from being a great chapter. This issue’s strength in particular hinges on the emotion between the characters, all of which feels real and relatable. I said it before in my review of Wonder Woman #2, but the even numbered ‘Year One’ just might be better than the odd numbered ‘The Lies’.
Rucka paints an interesting look at the Amazon society in the wake of Steve Trevor’s arrival. There’s a great discussion between Hippolyta and the elders of Themyscira and, while one or two characters seem to rely on hyperbolic statements, their reactions are earnest and fit with their characters rather than stoking drama just for drama’s sake. This scene also hints at something much larger happening in and outside Themyscira, planting the seeds for what ‘Year One’s conflict will be.
The real scene-stealer, though, was Diana’s first meeting with Steve. Not only was it an emotional highpoint, Rucka cleverly played with the idea of a language barrier between the two characters, something that’s rarely ever been addressed in various Wonder Woman media considering the Amazons excluded themselves from man’s world for generations. Despite this language barrier, it displayed the connection Diana and Steve shared in their moment of sympathy for Steve’s fallen friends.
The emotional beats really served Diana’s character. The scene with Steve was great, but she also got an excellent scene with her mother. Most stories featuring her origin depict her tricking her mother when she joins the games to be Amazon’s ambassador to the world, but here its twisted where Diana not only had Hippolyta’s blessing, but the latter knew full well Diana would win despite her tiny hope she wouldn’t. This further displayed the connection the mother and daughter shared, especially as it was revealed the ambassador could never come back home.
Again, Nicola Scott’s arts really sold these scenes, especially in her facial work and body language. The sorrow on Diana’s face as she mourned Steve’s friends with him to the look of acceptance and determination with her mother were some of the standout examples of the facial work. Scott really knows how to sell the emotion in these sequences. There was even a great montage image of the various games the Amazons competed in that also highlighted Scott’s talent. Her first time depicting Wonder Woman in full-out warrior mode is a moment fans have to look forward to.
With these two alternating stories, Rucka has been knocking it out of the park with his storytelling approach. Rather than re-treading old ground, ‘Year One’ finds new ways to spin familiar beats into something fresh. The emotional beats are high and serve the characters and while being enhanced by Scott’s gorgeous artwork. If you’re not reading Wonder Woman by now, you should be.