Ricky Church reviews Wonder Woman Annual #1..
The world of the Amazing Amazon expands in a collection of short stories that take Wonder Woman around the globe! In the days after “Year One,” Diana comes face-to-face with Superman and Batman for the first time, as illustrated by “Year One” artist Nicola Scott…and years later, Liam Sharp brings you the story of how their friendship has evolved!
To begin, Wonder Woman Annual #1 is not entirely what is advertised above. The annual is more of a collection of short stories from various writers and artists than one cohesive story. While Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott do tell the first meeting between DC’s main trinity, it is only a short and Liam Sharp is nowhere to be found in the issue. Those expecting a full issue from the current Wonder Woman team will be rather disappointed by the misleading synopsis.
‘And Then There Were Three…’, the story depicting the first meeting between Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, is the first story presented and the main draw of the issue. This story takes place within Rucka’s run shortly after the events of Wonder Woman #10 and though Wonder Woman herself appears very briefly in this story, her presence is felt throughout as Batman and Superman attempt to discover more about the mysterious princess.
The characters are all written very well with quick and snappy dialogue, particularly the interplay between Superman and Batman. Their banter is very much in character, but Batman’s realization of just how good Wonder Woman is at the end brings quite a great ending to the story. Not only does he realize his own goodness falls short compared to Diana, but even Superman doesn’t have the same heart as hers is quite a powerful statement to Wonder Woman and the effect she has on people.
Seeing Nicola Scott illustrate Wonder Woman once again is a treat. She did an awesome job depicting Diana throughout ‘Year One’ so seeing her return, however brief, elevates the annual. Her renditions of Batman and Superman look great, especially once paired with Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s beautiful colours. Just based off these alone, it would be amazing if they could one day get on something like Justice League or Trinity with these three heroes.
Unfortunately, the rest of the stories just don’t quite hold up to Rucka and Scott’s story. One written by Vita Ayala and illustrated by Claire Roe sees Wonder Woman defend the villain King Shark in an unjust trial and execution, but the story is too brief and rushed to really stand out. Another story written by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing depicts Wonder Woman fighting a Kaiju. The art in it is done by David Lafuente and is much more cartoonish than the others, but does fit the story given the subject matter. However, the ending comes out of nowhere with a really silly and cutesy moment that seems out of place.
The only other story to really match the first is ‘The Curse and The Honor’ by Michael Moreci. This sees Diana sparring with and helping a seasoned fighter defend his village from a demonic spirit. It’s a straightforward story, but an enjoyable one made more memorable due to Stephanie Hans’ artwork. She illustrates as well as colours and gives the story a distinct look and feel with some visceral imagery. Its definitely the second best piece in the issue.
Though ‘Then There Were Three…’ and ‘The Curse and The Honor’ are good stories, they’re unfortunately not quite enough to elevate the whole issue thanks to the other two stories. It’s a shame Wonder Woman Annual #1 didn’t devote itself entirely to Rucka and Scott’s story, or even have anything from Sharp. It makes it an uneven annual, but still not a wholly bad issue.