Wonder Woman #8

by Aaron Reese on October 18, 2016

This is the first Wonder Woman issue from the post-Rebirth timeline not to feature Wonder Woman or series regular artists Liam Sharp or Nicola Scott. Instead, issue #8 follows a younger (pre-Cheetah) Barbara Ann Minerva on her quest to find evidence of the mythical Amazons. Bilquis Evely (Bombshells, Legends of Tomorrow) takes over art duties for this issue. It's a jarring detour by writer Greg Rucka, who already juggles two ongoing storylines--one involves Steve Trevor, Cheetah and an ancient African god (Urzkartaga) and the other retells Wonder Woman's origin. Both have strong, entertaining narratives with downright breathtaking artwork. This issue slams the brakes on both narratives and introduces another. It's a bit of a risk this early in the series and make one wonder if the artists were just too far behind to catch up.

Rebirth relies partly on the reader's cumulative knowledge of DC's main characters while also slightly modernizing their origins. Tweaks to secondary characters aren't as important because their backstories are already generally understood in relation to the updates to the main character. Did we really need an in-depth issue on Cheetah this early? No, probably not. We have had 50 years to understand her character and understand her place in the Wonder Woman mythos. But is this issue any good despite that? Yeah.

In the previous issue, Cheetah and Wonder Woman defeat an ancient god who enslaved women and captured Steve Trevor to sacrifice him. The god is also the being responsible for Cheetah's curse. After its defeat, women and Steve rescued, Cheetah is apparently cured and reverts to human form. This issue shows the first steps of Minerva's journey in getting cursed and puts her on a collision course with Wonder Woman. Her tenacious search for knowledge puts her on the outs with academic circles and makes her the prime candidate to translate for Wonder Woman, who will be captured by the U.S. government in the near future of this story. It kind of ties into the other narratives, but it's nothing we couldn't have filled in on our own.

Even though this issue is unnecessary in the big scheme of things, Rucka has the ability to seduce readers into caring about normal people, even when they exist in an extraordinary world, taking the time to explore their passions. Archeology is just as important to Minerva as protecting Gotham is to Batman. It's all a matter of scale and personal preference. Rucka can tap into that passion, no matter how large or small, and make the reader care too. Evely's art isn't a step down from the overall quality we've seen in previous issues, which is saying something based on how amazing Scott and Sharp have been.

As a stand alone issue, Wonder Woman #8 is a fun throwback to Indiana Jones. This young Minerva could anchor her own adventure mini-series. As an issue in the ongoing Wonder Woman story, it feels like a stopgap between story arcs--a delaying maneuver while the real story is put in place. In the end, fun is fun and this story enough to keep the reader entertained. Even if you want a Wonder Woman story this month, like I did, try to sit back and enjoy the scenic route.

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