While the end of Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp’s “The Lies” arc didn’t end with a big surprise for readers, it was certainly a shock for Wonder Woman. By that point in the run, it was quite clear that the New 52 Paradise Island was being retconned as a fiction, given how drastically different everything about the Amazons was in Rucka and Nicola Scott’s “Year One,” so the reveal at the end of Wonder Woman #11 was somewhat obvious. But not for Wonder Woman. The knowledge that her memories of her home and her interactions with the Amazons over the past few years were all a lie and the realization that she’s never been back home since she left the first time seems to have shattered her. So with Wonder Woman out of commission, Steve Trevor takes over the narrative lead in this standalone issue that bridges “The Lies” and “The Truth.” We’ll dig into it momentarily, but first:
I am about to tell you EVERYTHING that happens in this issue!
Look away if you haven’t read it yet!
Get yourself a post-Christmas treat and go pick it up!
I’ve read a lot of Wonder Woman comic books and very few of them put the focus on Steve Trevor, largely because he’s always been a tricky character to make interesting. Part of the problem is that he’s usually next to Wonder Woman and she’s the best; it’s hard for any dude to look cool when compared to the amazingness of Wonder Woman. Steve’s not a bad character by any means, just a little generic and better in small doses. There’s no strong, compelling characterization of him, no real hook for readers to latch onto other than that he loves Wonder Woman. We all love Wonder Woman too so I suppose we’re all on the same page as Steve, but compared to other non-superhero romantic interests, like Lois Lane for example, he’s not so exciting.
Rucka and guest artist Renato Guedes’ solution to this problem is to make Steve Trevor a total bad ass, and it works pretty well. We’ve seen a tougher Steve throughout the New 52 era, leading special ops teams and whatnot, but much like his Wonder Woman adventures, he was often overshadowed by his superhero companions. Wonder Woman #13 is wholly without superheroes; Wonder Woman’s on the fritz, and it’s just Steve versus a revamped Dr. Poison leading an assault team to nab Diana. These are enemies that Steve can handle, and he does with aplomb.
The issue is nicely put together. Steve is stuck on a barren island in the middle of nowhere with no way to get off it (Wonder Woman was his ride home), and the Picket is compromised and Etta Candy’s on the run, so support from the mainland isn’t coming any time soon. He’s got to use what little he has to fight a well-trained assault troop, making use of his environment and his combat skills to do so. Rucka and Guedes give Steve some clever solutions out of these limited options, and watching him set up and execute his plan makes for a fun read. We’re often told that Steve is a good soldier, but Wonder Woman usually ends up doing most of the heavy lifting, so it’s cool to see how well he can handle things when he’s on his own.
It’s also great to see a new take on Dr. Poison. Her doctorate isn’t specified, but Marina Maru is clearly connected to the classic Golden Age character in some way, and she’s a pleasant change from the horrible take on the character we got during the Finches’ run on Wonder Woman. And with the reference to Maru poison in Wonder Woman #12, it seems that the Maru(s?) are set to play a key role in the story moving forward. Rucka is slyly assembling a team of Wonder Woman’s classic villains, and it should make for some good times as these new arcs begin.
Renato Guedes is a good fit for the story, and he illustrates the action well. There’s a lot more show than tell in Steve’s plans to fight the incoming soldiers, so instead of the text telling us what Steve is up to, Guedes draws it all and does an excellent job communicating what he’s getting up to. The subsequent action is clearly rendered and easy to follow, and his work makes for an enjoyable issue all around. Guedes’ artwork isn’t as lovely as Nicola Scott or Bilquis Evely’s, but his sharper lines and sharper tone are a good fit for a Steve Trevor story in the same way Scott and Evely match well with Wonder Woman.
All together, this was a fun outing, and puts us in an interesting spot to start “The Truth.” Wonder Woman is shut down, housed in a hospital in London, while Steve is set to track down Etta. “The Lies” was a slow, somewhat unexciting arc, not bad by any means but not great either. I’m curious to see what we get out of “The Truth,” and I’m hopeful that Rucka and Sharp will a) make the book more fun and compelling and b) actually give us some answers this time around. This interlude was a positive start, and I’m looking forward to where things go from here.