If there's one thing that's consistent across the entire Rebirth line, it's that the pacing is strange. Perhaps as a consequence of the shorter page count, issues seem to rush to get their material in place, slow down immensely so as to fit everything in, or as seen in last week's Batman, simply skip chunks of story between issues. This problem comes home to roost with Wonder Woman #4 which has a number of great elements but is undercut by having two issues worth of material crammed into one. In the span of Issue two of the year one storyline, Wonder Woman meets a man, befriends him, wins a championship, gets a new costume, and leaves the island. Every one of these moments works, but would work better if there was more time to develop dramatically and watch Diana face her changing world. This might seem an odd complaint to note since the issue doesn't feel particularly overstuffed or truncated, but the element that is making Wonder Woman special is its emotional stakes and I wish it had room to fully explore them. Despite this complaint, the issue is beautiful, thanks in part to a subtle script but in larger part to Nicola Scott's expressive, fully realized artwork. I don't think I have ever seen a version of Diana more easy to fall in love with than Scott's, and she manages to never come near the cheesecake territory that even the best versions tend to stray into. She is built a little slight perhaps, but she looks elegant, young, and, as is most rare, distinctive (her facial features are specific instead of simply generic idealized woman).
The story this time around is largely focused on moving the various parts of the mythos into place (the lasso, the invisible jet, the exit from the island, etc.), but it's effective in how it adds in the grounded, psychological take that Rucka specializes in. For example, in one scene where the women of the island debate the morality of a handgun from the world of men, one elder is quick to make the very reasonable observation that it's little different from a well-shot arrow, and not inherently immoral. Similarly, when Steve Trevor wakes up and meets Diana, the tone isn't romantic, but tragic as she breaks to him the news that his friends are all dead from the crash. As such, while the elements are all classic, the story feels fresh and original. One sequence in particular, again involving the handgun, repurposed a key piece of Wonder Woman iconography to such good effect that an old trope feels almost awe-inspiring.
I feel comfortable at this point saying that Wonder Woman, specifically the "Year One" side of it, is the best comic in the Rebirth line. Rucka's return to the character, with Nichola Scott along for the ride manages to go beyond good superhero comic into the realm of simply good comics. As such, I remain a little scared that DC's limitations will hurt the book (as has happened to Rucka before), but for the moment, it would be a mistake not to check out Wonder Woman.
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Wonder Woman #4 Writer: Greg Rucka Artist: Nicola Scott Colorist: Romula Fajardo Jr. Publisher: DC Comics Price: $2.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital