Last Friday, John Siuntres posted a new episode of his Word Balloon podcast in which he spoke to Greg Rucka, the once and future writer of Wonder Woman whose return to the series as part of DC’s “Rebirth” line was recently announced. It’s a great episode, and I recommend giving it a listen; Word Balloon is a fantastic podcast, and it’s always enjoyable to get Rucka’s insights into Wonder Woman and his work in general. But in case you haven’t got the time to dive in for their hour and a half long chat, here are some new details about Rucka’s upcoming Wonder Woman run that he revealed. He was pretty cagey about the plot, but there was a lot of good information in the mix.
1) The artists are super keen on the book: Rucka enthused about his artists, Nicola Scott and Liam Sharp, throughout the show. For Rucka and Scott, their “Year One” storyline, which will run in the even-numbered issues, was a dream project for the both of them. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that they had to take, even though it meant putting their creator owned book, Black Magick, on the shelf for a while. This is a story they’ve wanted to do together for ages, and Rucka said Scott is hitting it out of the park.
Sharp, who will drawn the odd-numbered issues, is similarly excited. After a long break from mainstream comics, it sounds like he’s fixing to come back with a vengeance and is so excited to be on Wonder Woman. Rucka said that Sharp would draw every single issue if he could, an impossible feat given the bi-monthly schedule but an indicator of his zeal for the project. Rucka’s gotten in a few pages already, and apparently they’re gorgeous.
2) This new run is not a continuation of Rucka’s past run: A decade ago, after setting up one of Wonder Woman’s biggest storylines in some time, her killing of Max Lord after he mind-controlled Superman, Rucka was removed from the book for its “One Year Later” relaunch and didn’t get to finish the rest of his story. This will not be that. It’s a new universe with a new history, and those threads are gone. Rucka’s telling a different story here, though he did mention that Wonder Woman might run into Max Lord at some point, since he is alive and part of this new universe.
3) The story builds on Wonder Woman’s New 52 tales thus far: This is not a reboot, basically. Everything that happened in Azzarello and Chiang’s run and then the Finches’ tenure is part of Wonder Woman’s history, and Rucka will go from there. The tone will be different and it sounds like he might be fixing to make some course corrections, but the past hasn’t been erased. Rucka did talk about the Amazons at length, however, and I anticipate that their current raping/murdering/genocidal ways will either fall by the wayside or be undone. He’s firmly in the camp of the Amazons being a utopian, loving, supportive group, which has not been their New 52 depiction thus far at all.
4) The alternate storylines will subtly tie together: A contemporary story, called “The Lies”, will run in the odd-numbered issues while “Year One” runs in the even-numbered issues, a clever way to make the double shipping schedule of “Rebirth” more manageable for the artists. But that doesn’t mean the storylines will be completely separate. Aspects of one will tie into the other, and Rucka is hoping that keen-eyed fans will read closely to see the connections. Given that the contemporary story is called “The Lies”, it sounds like the modern Wonder Woman may be learning some new truths about her past experiences.
5) Wonder Woman’s new costume is inspired by her movie look, but that’s the only connection: For reasons of synergy and branding, DC wants Wonder Woman to wear a costume that resembles her look in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but the comics are the comics and aren’t beholden to any other part of the cinematic world. They only care about visual consistency, and Rucka mentioned that if he had to follow the film universe’s characterization and stories, he would have been much less likely to take on the gig.
6) Rucka believes in “Rebirth” as a whole: Rucka’s departure from DC seven years ago was acrimonious and seemed final, but Geoff Johns and Dan DiDio have convinced him that they are committed to letting him tell his own story with Wonder Woman, and that this line-wide relaunch initiative is part of a larger commitment to return to the core of what makes DC Comics great. I can’t imagine a harder sell on this than Greg Rucka, who got screwed over by DC on multiple levels, multiple times, so hearing that he thinks DC is genuinely trying to do better by their characters was very encouraging.
7) Mark Doyle is editing Wonder Woman, along with Rachel Taylor and Chris Conroy: Rucka had some conditions for returning to DC, and I’m guessing that one of them was picking his editor because while Wonder Woman has been part of the Superman editorial family, Bat-editor Mark Doyle will be at the helm here. This is excellent news; the Superman editorial team is problematic for a number of reasons, including their poor treatment of Wonder Woman over the past few years. Meanwhile, Mark Doyle is one of the best editors in comics, having revitalized the grim New 52 Bat-books with a more tonally diverse and enjoyable line-up of series in recent years. I’m so glad he’s landed Wonder Woman now.
8) Wonder Woman’s relationship with Superman is over: Speaking of the Superman editorial team treating Wonder Woman poorly, the romantic relationship that put her in a second fiddle position is done with now. However, while Superman isn’t a part of Wonder Woman for Rucka’s first 12 issues at least, he has talked to Action Comics writer Dan Jurgens about a potential meet up with Superman down the road.
9) Potential guest stars: The only side characters that Rucka would confirm are in the book are Steve Trevor and Etta Candy, who I assume will play a role in the “Year One” arc. He’d like to bring back Ferdinand the minotaur from his original Wonder Woman run, but only if it fits organically; Rucka doesn’t want to just shoehorn in old references. The Wonder Girls Donna Troy and Cassie Sandsmark might make an appearance later in his run, but there are no definitive plans yet. Also, Rucka would love to work in his old Gotham gals Renee Montoya and Batwoman if he can, but again it would have to come about organically.
10) Hamilton references are inevitable: While he doesn’t seem to be planning any direct Hamilton references, Rucka concedes that his life is so permeated with the musical right now and he is Ham Trash to such a degree that something will probably get into the book subconsciously. I can understand that; as Ham Trash myself, I inadvertently work in Hamilton references all the time now.
So there you have it! Slim on story details, but some insights into the behind the scenes of the upcoming Wonder Woman relaunch and Rucka’s plan for the characters. Again, I strongly encourage you to listen to his episode of Word Balloon; there are lots of details I’ve skimmed over or probably missed, and Rucka’s enthusiasm about returning to Wonder Woman is a great way to get even more excited for “Rebirth” this June.