I can’t not comment on this cover again, even though there’s lots of other stuff to dig into in this issue, because Steve Trevor looks like a straight up creeper. I said it when they first released it in the solicits and I’m saying it now; this is a very offputting cover. The dude is wigging me out. This is not the best way to advertise what is otherwise a pretty decent comic book, and one of the best installments of “The Lies” so far. It still doesn’t hold a candle to any of the “Year One” issues, all of which have been spectacular, but it’s a good outing for Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp that finally gets the ball rolling on what “The Lies” actually are. After four issues of the slightest of teases on “The Lies” front and a whole lot of Cheetah/Urzkartaga adventuring, things are finally happening! We’ll discuss them all, but first:
I’m about to full on ruin this whole issue!
Look away if you haven’t read it yet!
Don’t spoil yourself!
Let’s start at the beginning: Everyone’s back in America and the lengthy African escapade is done. Steve Trevor is filing his report, and Diana, Etta, and Barbara Ann are going shopping because Barbara’s been freed from her Cheetah guise and, presumably, has lost track of her wardrobe over the past several years in which she was a cat-creature and didn’t need any clothes. Even better, everyone’s finally talking about “The Lies.” They’re using satellites to try to locate Themyscira, and contemplating exactly where/how it exists. Apparently, it doesn’t have a literal location so much as a spiritual one, so the trick to finding it is to track down a spot where the divisions between the literal and spiritual world is thin.
Which they do! And the book ends with Wonder Woman returning to her mother and her home. The only problem is that it’s the blonde Hippolyta with the violent, awful Amazons from the early years of the New 52. Diana’s happy to see her mother, but it’s clear that something is amiss. First, the skies are all cloudy and red and violent, which is always an ominous sign. And second, Steve looks super confused. These are not the Amazons that Steve remembers at all. We’ve saw his time with the Amazons in the new Wonder Woman #2, and it was a bright, happy place with lovely buildings and lots of colour and a brunette queen. This brutal looking place is not the utopia that he remembers.
Wonder Woman, on the other hand, remembers both, and potentially several other of her incarnations as well. Her memory’s gone screwy, and her past is a blur in her mind. While she’s glad to see her mother now, it seems likely that everything’s going to go sideways next month as we get to the heart of what’s really happening with “The Lies.”
The issue also introduced a few other interesting developments. First, Veronica Cale is back! She’s a villain that we really haven’t seen much since Rucka’s last run on Wonder Woman, and I’m glad to see her facing off against her Amazon foe again. Veronica still doesn’t care for Wonder Woman at all, and looks to be plotting to take her down. We only get a couple of pages with her, so I’m not sure what her involvement is in the weird CIA group that Steve, Etta, and Sasha Bordeaux work for. She might be running the whole show, or she may have a mole on the inside that she’s using for intel and to manipulate things. Time will tell. Whatever the case, Veronica Cale is involved on the inside, and that doesn’t bode well for Wonder Woman at all.
Luckily for Wonder Woman, this bad news is tempered by a bit of good news: She and Steve are getting romantic again. They have a lengthy discussion about their relationship over the years and her recent dalliance with Superman, and it all ends with a kiss, so it looks like those two crazy kids are finally together. I’m ambivalent on this development, really. Steve is fine and all, and this is a classic pairing, but the two of them together have always lacked a spark for me that other signature comic book romances capture so well. Lois Lane and Superman are often dynamite together, as are Catwoman and Batman (or Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne), but Diana and Steve are okay at best. There’s just not a lot of excitement there, but perhaps Rucka will be the writer that finally sells me on them together. I do love what he’s doing with Steve in “Year One,” though it’s somehow not translating into “The Lies” Steve, who’s been a bit flat. Also, that goatee is terrible. Plus that creepy cover. Maybe with a shave and something more to do than be captured, Present Steve will grow on me and I’ll like him as much as I do Past Steve.
Ultimately, there was a lot going on in this issue, and the bigger story of “The Lies” is finally moving forward. The book still exhibited several of the weak spots that we’ve seen previously in this arc, though. For one thing, it’s still very slow. And needlessly so; that two page spread of Wonder Woman greeting folks in the mall seemed unnecessary. Naming all of the stores after past Wonder Woman creators was cute, but I don’t think that scene needed 10% of the issue’s real estate. On the plus side, Sharp was more on top of the art this month. The visuals were far less inconsistent than the past couple of outings, and there were some nice panels in the mix. It might be his most consistent outing since Wonder Woman #1.
I’m excited to see where the story is going next, which is a first for me reading “The Lies.” At the end of previous issues, I was mildly curious about where things were heading, but there wasn’t a lot of immediacy to the cliffhangers and when the next issue rolled around I wasn’t clamouring to read it. But now, I’m very much looking forward to Wonder Woman #11. We’re finally digging into “The Lies”! And I hope we get some answers soon.