Hey everyone! Boy, time slipped away from me this week. It seems like just yesterday that I was writing about Cyborg; so much so that I nearly forgot to get something new to read altogether! A holiday can do that to you. Fear not, though – I never really run out of stuff to talk about! This week, I’ve picked up volume 2 of the DC Rebirth Wonder Woman series, which is slightly confusingly named Year One.
Considering the large number of previous “Year One” standalone stories (e.g. Frank Miller’s seminal Batman: Year One), I naturally assumed that this was part of the set… until I noticed the “volume 2” badge on the spine. Labelling gripes aside, this latest take on Diana of Themyscira’s origins is no doubt due to the surprisingly good Wonder Woman movie that’s been in cinemas recently. Thankfully, DC has continued their run of good decisions (surprising, I know!) by pairing up a creative powerhouse in writer Greg Rucka (Detective Comics, 52) and artist Nicola Scott (Earth 2). I was pretty curious to see how this new origin would compare to the storyline of the movie; as much as I liked the movie, I wanted the comic to do something a bit different. Sure enough, it did.
The island of Themyscira is utter paradise. Far from the troubles of the modern world, the Amazons live in peace. Their greatest treasure, their princess Diana, has lived in the secluded paradise her entire life. When a United States Air Force plane crashes on their island, with Steve Trevor as its only survivor, Diana is given a glimpse into the wider world beyond. The world is in crisis, and it needs her help. With the help of the Amazons, Steve’s plane is repaired, and Diana sets out into the world to fight for humanity.
As far as I’m concerned, this is the perfect companion for anyone wanting to jump on after seeing Gal Gadot in action. It hits more or less the same beats as the movie (Steve, Diana adjusting to the world, Ares being Ares) but still sets up enough differing story points to make it interesting. One of the biggest changes compared to the movie is its setting; while the movie was set in World War 1, Year One is set in the modern day. In addition to adjusting to more everyday facets of our culture (speech, customs etc.) Diana also has to deal with newer technology like cameras and smartphones. Of particular interest is the setup and origin story for Barbara Minerva, aka Cheetah; Barbara is one of the first people to actually communicate with and befriend Diana. Knowing that she’ll go on to become one of Diana’s greatest enemies makes the whole situation fascinating; Rucka got me surprisingly invested in how that all turns out (spoiler alert: it gets nasty).
I have to give special attention to Nicola Scott’s artwork. Her take on Diana is absolutely fantastic, and I think most of it comes down to just how expressive she is. One of Diana’s key characteristics is her compassion and attitude towards humanity, despite its flaws. When her art is paired with Rucka’s great, character-driven writing – a lot of focus is put on Diana’s burgeoning friendships with Steve, Barbara and Etta rather than combat – I found Year One to be just as endearing as the movie version. It’s different, for sure, but personally I think it wins out on charm alone.
Stay tuned, folks – next time around, I’ll have finished my rampage through DC’s Rebirth line, and we’ll be diving back into the wonderful world of Image Comics.
Written by Alastair McGibbon
Image sourced via DC Comics