This week, Wonder Woman fans were given the bummer news that veteran comics writer Greg Rucka would be leaving the character with issue #25 this July. Rucka was given the reigns of Wonder Woman for her “back to her roots” approach in DC Rebirth, and the series so far has been exactly the Princess Diana that fans have been missing since the New 52 era began. He announced his departure from the title via his blog, saying the following:
“Writing Diana again has been an amazing experience, on the level of a dream-come-true. All any of us who’ve worked on the book this last year have wanted is to serve her well, to illuminate what we so absolutely believe makes Wonder Woman such a remarkable and unique and timeless and important character.”
Rucka has quite a history with the character going back some 15 years, and is considered by many to be one of the definitive Wonder Woman creators of the modern era. So if you’re wondering what all the hubbub is about regarding Rucka’s take on Princess Diana, here are some of his very best stories with the character over the years.
Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia (2002)
Before he started his run on Wonder Woman, in 2002, Greg Rucka’s first go-’round with the character was the graphic novel Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia. This one-shot, which is illustrated beautifully by artist J.G. Jones (Final Crisis) is very much a Greek tragedy. In this story, Princess Diana takes part in an ancient Greek rite called the Hiketeia, where she is honor-bound to eternally protect and care for a young woman who asked for her protection by invoking an ancient, sacred ritual, one she knows an Amazon like Diana cannot ignore or refuse.Eventually, Wonder Woman finds out that the young woman has killed the sex traffickers and drug dealers who murdered her sister, and she the finds herself in a moral conflict with her fellow Justice Leaguer and friend Batman, who is searching for the fugitive to bring her to justice. Considering that the Hiketeia is a sacred duty that must be honored when invoked, Wonder Woman has to make a choice-either honor her moral code, or break the ancient oath. This one-shot graphic novel is an early example of how much Rucka understood the complexities that make up Wonder Woman’s philosophy.
Although initially published as an original graphic novel, it is now collected in Wonder Woman By Greg Rucka Vol. 1.
Wonder Woman (Volume 2) Issues #205-213 (2004)
After The Hiketeia, Greg Rucka took the reins of the ongoing Wonder Woman series for a three-year run starting in 2003, joined bt Drew Johnson and various other artists. During this stint, Rucka zeroed in on Diana’s role as the ambassador from Paradise Island, where she led a full-time staff at the Themysciran Embassy (and courted controversy when she wrote a book based on her own personal philosophy).
In issues #205 of Wonder Woman, the mythological Gorgon Medusa is resurrected by ancient magic, and decides she’s going to get her revenge for her original death at the hands of Perseus, who was Athena’s champion. Medusa decides to make this happen by defeating Athena’s newest champion, Wonder Woman. Medusa eventually challenges Wonder Woman to a gladiator-style battle in the modern version of an ancient Colosseum… which happens to be Yankee Stadium.
To win against Medusa, who of course can turn anyone to stone with one look, Wonder Woman takes the drastic step of blinding herself. The rest of the story shows that even without her eyesight, Diana is still by far the greatest warrior in the DC Universe has to offer. In fact, when the Justice League later asks a blind Wonder Woman to do a series of war game style tests to prove she can still serve on the team, Diana soundly defeats them all. This storyline more than any other shows why Wonder Woman is not to be underestimated, ever.
Wonder Woman (Vol.2) Issues #205-213 are available collected as Wonder Woman: Eyes of the Gorgon.
Wonder Woman: Year One (2016-2017)
When Greg Rucka returned to the Amazing Amazon last year for DC Rebirth, he had a double task–giving fans an updated version of Diana’s origin story, and also a give fans a pair of storylines set in the present called “The Truth” and “The Lies,” in which Wonder Woman begins to question some of the New 52 aspects of her background. But between the present day stories, which are gorgeously drawn by Liam Sharp, and Wonder Woman: Year One, which featured the spectacular artwork of Nicola Scott, I’m going to have to go with Year One as the best of the two Wonder Woman: Rebirth stories.
In the past year, Wonder Woman’s origin story has been told several times, like in Grant Morrison’s recent Wonder Woman: Earth One graphic novel, and in The Legend of Wonder Woman. But in my opinion, Rucka has the best modern version. He draws from the 1986 post-Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot of Wonder Woman by George Perez, (still the definitive version), and adds elements of his own. Rucka’s young Diana is kind of above all things, but also painfully curious about what lies beyond her shores. Steve Trevor, who was such a boring love interest in the past that modern versions have made him more of an older brother figure, is restored as a badass who is truly worthy of Diana’s romantic affections.
Rucka also has given fans a worthy version of the Cheetah, by making Barbara Ann Minerva a true friend of Diana’s before her turn into a murderous were-beast, giving their relationship as adversaries a far more interesting edge. And finally, Rucka finally showed that Wonder Woman is indeed bisexual, by giving her a girlfriend back home on Themyscira. These aspects of Wonder Woman’s character have been hinted at for years, and Rucka dealt with them realistically and with little fanfare. Rucka’s ability to get to the nuance of Diana’s core personality combined with the art by Nicola Scott make this a must-have for all Wonder Woman fans.
Wonder Woman: Year One will be collected in Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One (Rebirth), which collects #2, #4, #6, #8, #10, #12, #14. This collection hits in May.
Which Rucka written Wonder Woman story is your favorite? Be sure to let us know down below in the comments.
Images: DC Comics
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