Wonder Woman #2 Review: A New Yet Iconic Origin


Sometimes a comic book just feels right. It taps into what you love about a character and captures a sense of her and her world in a way that fits perfectly with your view of both. We’ve gotten lots of different versions of Wonder Woman over years in lots of different continuities and, like most fans, my vision of the character isn’t connected to any particular incarnation but is rather an amalgam of aspects of many of them; a little Marston, a little Perez, a hint of Simone and Jimenez. A bit of Lynda Carter and a bit of Susan Eisenberg. It all adds up in my mind to something that doesn’t exist in full form in the real world, yet is THE Wonder Woman in my head. Wonder Woman #2 captured a lot of that for me. This felt like Paradise Island, the women captured who I think the Amazons are, and Diana was who I always want her to be. It was a great start to this “Year One” story that I’ve been very much looking forward too, and we’ll discuss it all momentarily but first:


I am about to reveal many of the major plot elements in this comic book!

Look away if you haven’t read it yet!

And go buy it; it’s great!

This isn’t like the old days when Wonder Woman sucked and it was easier to just read a review than subject yourself to a crappy comic each month!

Go read it and enjoy it!

I liked Wonder Woman #1, but it was good not great for me. It got the ball rolling on a bunch of things, but it was a pretty laid back, spacious first issue. While Wonder Woman #2 isn’t particularly jam packed either, there’s a lot more going on even if it a lot of it might not be particularly plot based. What happened can be summed up pretty quickly: Diana’s a princess of the Amazons, she wants to see the outside world, and one night Steve Trevor crash lands on Paradise Island. It’s all fairly standard Wonder Woman origin stuff. But the world building and character building behind it all is what makes this comic great.

Let’s start with Steve Trevor, for a change. I always find it hard to give a hoot about Steve Trevor, but Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott make him an instantly likeable character with just a few pages that flash through moments in the years leading up to his arrival on Paradise Island. The scenes go through Steve’s military training and his friendship with a fellow soldier named Nick, who actually gets a fuller arc; we see him on his first date with his future wife, then his wedding, then the birth of his first child, then his tragic death in the plane crash that brings Steve to Diana. Through Nick’s story, we get a sense of the man Steve is, a good friend, a good soldier, and an all around good man. He’s still not the most exciting guy in the world; I don’t think he ever could be, really. The man is doomed to be overshadowed by Wonder Woman, after all. But the story establishes that Steve is a guy worth rooting for.

With Diana, Rucka and Scott establish several of the hallmarks of the character. She’s kind and funny, a great warrior, and a wonderful daughter. She also wants to get the hell out of paradise, though not in a petulant, brooding way. Her entire existence has been confined to this island, while all of her sisters have spent time in the outside world before the Amazons departed it. She’s curious, and while she clearly loves her home and her sisters, she wants more.

We also get canonical acknowledgement of same-sex relationships on Paradise Island, particularly some involving Diana herself. It seems that she’s had a variety of paramours over the years, and that many of her fellow Amazons are interested in her; she’s the cool girl that everyone has a crush on. We’ve seen same-sex relationships among the Amazons before, most recently in Wonder Woman: Earth One and The Legend of Wonder Woman, but it’s good to see Diana in the mix too. And in a way that comes off well. There’s not much in the way of jealousy and strife among her would-be suitors, just earnest longing. It stands in stark contrast to Wonder Woman: Earth One, in which her relationship with Mala was a rather toxic and uncaring.

The most intriguing part of the issue for me was the mysterious snake that bites Diana and renders her ill, seemingly for some time. The snake appears in a bizarre tree that Diana has never seen before, and has glowing red eyes. Its bite knocks Diana unconscious, and her recovery takes a while. The snake and the tree aren’t discussed much, but it’s clear that they’ll play a role moving forward. Perhaps this may be one of the connections to the story in the odd-numbered issues that Rucka has hinted at, some sort of link to the lies that plague Diana in the present day.

But back in the past, she’s just a curious gal who wants to see the world. It’s understandable, even though Scott has built a spectacularly gorgeous world around her. Her rendering of the island feels like the platonic ideal of Paradise Island to me; it’s classic but unique, with a beautiful city area and lush surroundings. It’s everything I think of when I imagine the home of the Amazons.

Scott also does a phenomenal job with the island’s residents. While Scott has drawn Wonder Woman before, and did an excellent job when she did, her work is even better now. She’s definitely grown as an artist over the years, and I think it shows most in the clear yet subtle emotion she brings to her characters. Diana’s interactions with her mother demonstrate this particularly well; even without the dialogue, you can see the warmth and love they have for each other as clear as day, and the characters are expressive but not overly so. It feels natural and real, something that’s tricky to achieve in artwork.

The colors enhance the beauty of the book as well, and I’m so glad to see Romulo Fajardo Jr. will be coloring this half of the series. His work on Wonder Woman ’77 was phenomenal, and often brought the book to live, even when he didn’t have the best art to work with. Paired with Scott’s fantastic linework, Fajardo’s colors make the book sing. It’s a gorgeous issue from start to finish, and while I very much wanted to devour it to see what happens next, the artwork drew my attention and kept me poring over each page.

All together, this first issue of “Year One” was a great start. It could perhaps be called slow or even “decompressed”, but it was so in a way that I think it needed to be to establish a new tone for Paradise Island and the Amazons. The New 52 run diminished both considerably, degrading them and turning this noble group of women into a bunch of hateful rapists and murderers. Rucka and Scott bring joy and peace and kindness back to the Amazons here, and establish a new status quo that overwrites the errors of the past. We still don’t have much insight into how Wonder Woman remembers two pasts or who is behind “The Lies” that are being pursued in the odd-numbered arc, but we do have the classic Amazons back and that’s what I was hoping for above all else in this run.

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10 Responses to “Wonder Woman #2 Review: A New Yet Iconic Origin”

  1. Jan Arrah Says:

    Every time someone does the “of course all Amazons are into girls” storylines, I have to wonder.. if the Amazons were a society of all men, would they automatically make them all gay men and if not, why not? Well it’s obvious.. sexuality isn’t that simple and shouldn’t be constrained that way. And of course, we know.. few straight white male comic writers would go to the “all men are gay if they’re on an island together” idea (if there were in fact male/ male relationships, there would be a bit of rape and violence involved. as we’ve seen in numerous instances of male/male relationships in comics).
    Also, let’s face it.. lesbian Amazons is so freaking obvious and such an easy “well that’s why they separated themselves from the world of man.. they only like other women” and fuels the man-hating lesbian stereotypes, which we should always, always avoid.

    Of course there are going to be Amazons that like other women because that is likely, but the entire island being open and all about girl on girl action? That’s more pure straight male fantasy to me than developed and nuanced idea about the Amazons and how they should be. And really, comics play into those fantasies enough, it’d be kind nice if they didn’t for a bit..

    • Jeppe Dittmer Says:

      I think I get you’re point, yeah an all male version of the Amazons would never be portrayed as an all gay society in the world of male targeted superhero comics. And it is pretty obvious that mainstream culture is a lot more comfortable with the idea of gay or bi-sexual women than with gay or bi-sexual men. Although I do think we see more gay men on film and tv than gay women (that is just a personal estimat though, I don’t have any statistics to back that up), so maybe it isn’t quit as simple as that.
      Anyway. I think you are messing up the course and effect aspect in you’re ‘anti-lesbian Amazons’ argument. The Amazons aren’t Amazons, ie an isolationist all female society, because they are all lesbians. They are “lesbians,” or more accurately, they engage in same sex relationships because they are Amazons, ie an isolationist all female society where there are no men around at whom they could project/direct their sexual desire. Obviously the Amazons aren’t real and so there seems to be little point in debating what kind of sexual identity they should or shouldn’t have based on the lore of their comics universe. My point is rather that the people, like myself, who want DC to make Wonder Woman canonically bi-sexual and the Amazons an acknowledge queer society isn’t looking for more sexy girl on girl cheesecake art in our Wonder Woman comics. This is about representation, and doing right by the character and her world. I you don’t think making Wonder Woman and the Amazons gay or bi-sexual seems right for the character then that is fine. We all have our biases and preferences, but making Wonder Woman THE female superhero, the oldest and most recognizable female superhero ever a bi-sexual character and owning it would be a huge moment in pop-cultural history in terms of diverse sexual representation in the media. To dismiss all that because there might be an element of male sexual fantasy to the idea of and all female society of immortal “lesbians” just seems crazy to me.
      There is an element of sexual fantasy to the idea of Amazons that go all the way back to the ancient greeks. There was an element of sexual fantasy to Marstons reimaging of the Amazons. And there is an element of sexual fantasy to Wonder Woman herself and female action heroes in general. Yes comics lean into this element of male sexual fantasy inherent to Wonder Woman and the Amazons a little to often (and way to hard), but that is on DC and the creative team to reign themselves in and treat the character respectfully. And does anyone really think that Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott of all people would treat Wonder Woman as vehicle for cheesecake art and pubescent fantasies?

      • Tim Hanley Says:

        You all make excellent points. Certainly lesbian Amazons could easily be turned into an exploitative trope, but I’m on the side of it making sense for them. Especially with Rucka at the helm, who will keep it classy. There was also some VERY blatant lesbian subtext in the Marston era, which is my main reason for arguing that it be made canonical. Plus I just think sexuality is fluid anyway, and folks are gonna get it where they can. foomf makes an excellent point about the Spartans in this regard further down in the comments. I can definitely see how it could go bad, but I think it fits both mythologically and comic book history-wise, and makes more sense than the puritanism that chaste Amazons play into.

      • rperlberg Says:

        If you want to know what would happen on an all male island just look at what happens in prison. Prison sex isn’t really homosexuality, it’s just situational sexuality. There was an episode of Buck Rogers where Buck went on an undercover mission to a future prison and was surprised that the prison population was coed. When asked how else would it be, he said “Men in one prison, women in another.” Whereupon he was told “Do you have any idea of the problems that would cause?”

    • Maus Merryjest (@merryjest) Says:

      It’s a valid point… but I think that the fact that they are a community of immortal women, apart from the world for thousands of years, is something worth considering. Under those conditions, I do think that same sex relationships would be more likely. The same would probably be true with a society of immortal men who have existed apart from the world for millennia.

      Now, whether or not comic book writers would present an all-male immortal society as having same-sex relationships? It depends, I guess. Rucka would probably do it. Lobdell?

      Well… he -did- create Bunker, and he was the only thing out of the nightmare dumpster fire that was Lobdell’s tenure in the New52 that wasn’t terrible… he even is a fan favorite. But would I trust someone like Lobdell to write good same-sex relationships? I’m not sure. I don’t think he’d be brave enough to try to create a male equivalent of Amazonian culture.

  2. foomf Says:

    The question of whether the Amazons would be universally lesbian can be addressed by looking at a similar society that DID exist in the real world: Sparta.

    Spartan males were raised until age seven by their mothers. Then they went to a universally male-only environment where they weren’t allowed to see their mothers or sisters again before they turned 14. They were in an intensively male soldier-generating system, and they were expected and required to make emotional and physical bonds with their older compatriots and this included sex. Not necessarily penetrative anal sex, which could lead to injury, but definitely sex. They were also trained to be murder machines, but that’s a separate issue.

    By the time they were old enough to serve in the phalanx, they were likely to have formed bonds with their shield-mates – the ones next to them in the ranks – as their lives depended on each other.

    There are records of Spartan women dressing in armor and wearing male styled clothing because they couldn’t arouse their husbands otherwise. And it was the absolute duty of Spartan wives to pop out as many healthy soldier-babies and future-mothers as they possibly could. They also trained in combat to some extent, which meant they were much more fit than most other Grecian noblewomen, and thus more likely to survive childbirth.

    SO. Yeah. Spartan males had a history of homophilia. They didn’t usually prefer men to the point that women were impossible to mate with but it was known to happen. It was considered a sign of softness and immaturity for a man to become so fond of his wife that he preferred her company to the men of his phalanx.

    Amazons are a necessarily-warrior culture, but the reason for why they’re necessarily warriors doesn’t seem to be mentioned yet. If there are enemies they have to fight and fight frequently, then this may have something to do with it, especially if the enemies are males. Their retreat to the island to get away from “man’s world” would probably result in their eventually stopping the whole ‘war training’ thing, unless there was a threat that made it necessary.

  3. Michael Scally (@FizzVsTheWorld) Says:

    Glad I’m not the only one getting the strong suspicion that “Year One” is actually the result of the antagonist of “The Lies” trying to rewrite Diana’s origin…

  4. Mariza Says:

    Nice post! Have you ever shared this on any other sites?

  5. rperlberg Says:

    You left out one of my favorite versions of Wonder Woman: Super Friends!

  6. Saint-Amy Says:

    But I always thought the Amazons and Wonder Woman where bisexual or at least fluid relationships. As I’m sick of bi-erasure in almost every medium especially since I am myself bisexual.

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