Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Super Ambassador

I crush your head!
Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka Volume 1 (2002, 2004/ Collected 2016): written by Greg Rucka; illustrated by J.G. Jones, Drew Johnson, and others: Greg Rucka's first writing stint on Wonder Woman is both a high point in mainstream adult superhero comics and emblematic of the problems of mainstream superhero comics in the 21st century. It's all rendered pleasingly and straightforwardly by J.G. Jones on the graphic novel included here (Wonder Woman: The Hiketia) and mostly Drew Johnson on the regular series.

The good is that aside from the George Perez days, this is Wonder Woman's best writer you've got here. Actually, Rucka is a better writer than George Perez and his collaborators -- Perez has the edge in redefining Wonder Woman for the 1980's and beyond. Some of that flows directly to this. Wonder Woman, per: Perez, is now the Ambassador to Man's World from the island formerly known as Paradise. Princess Diana no longer has the civilian ties to the American military that persisted from her Golden-Age creation into the mid-1980's. 

However, being an ambassador makes the book way too adult for kids. There are probably more pages devoted to Diana's book tour than there are to fights. There's nothing wrong with that exactly, except I'll be damned if I know where new readers were supposed to come from. Maybe all the kids who enjoy Model U.N. Clubs.

In any case, Diana's personality is something of a delight. Rucka has also pushed certain attributes to their logical conclusions: Diana can talk to the animals, so she's a vegan. She protects the whole Earth in naturalistic terms, so she stops the Flash from putting out a forest fire because forest fires need to burn to preserve the natural order. There's more than a whiff of Alan Moore's Swamp Thing to Rucka's Diana. What a team-up that would be! What a movie!

The Hiketia graphic novel, ably rendered by J.G. Jones, sees mythic rituals necessitate Diana beating the bejesus out of Batman. It couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Recommended.

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