The DC Universe Rebirth was a 2016 relaunch that saw the DC Universe restored to a pre-Flashpoint storyline, while still incorporating continuity and characters from the New 52. The Rebirth Wonder Woman Vol. 1: The Lies was published in March this year, and brings together writer Greg Rucka, who wrote Wonder Woman from 2003 to 2006, and artists Liam Sharp and Laura Martin.
In The Lies, Wonder Woman, Diana, is troubled by her own, often-conflicting memories (i.e. the different origin stories and character defining moments she has faced over the years, under different writers).
Was she created by the Queen of the Amazons, who wanted a child so badly she crafted a baby out of clay and prayed that the gods bring her to life? Or was Diana conceived during a tryst between the Queen of the Amazons and the God Zeus? Was she an only child, or did she have a brother? Is she half-Goddess, or touched by divinity?
It’s an ambitious beginning to the Rebirth series, given that these questions rely on the reader having some familiarity with Wonder Woman’s contradictory storylines over the years.
But The Lies is perhaps even more ambitious because of its pace, and the fact that the volume doesn’t pander to readers with social media update attention spans. This first instalment takes a circuitous path to answering the question Wonder Woman asks at the very beginning of the volume: what is real? And in fact, Wonder Woman (and the reader) aren’t much closer to knowing the answer to this question by the end of volume one.
Instead, we have followed two seemingly separate storylines, which slowly come together. One involves Wonder Woman’s OTP, Steve Trevor, carrying out his own investigation. In Rebirth he’s a special ops military man, physically imposing, and more than thoughtful and emotionally aware enough for this version of Wonder Woman. The other storyline involves archaeologist Barbara Ann Minerva, now cursed into half-woman, half-big cat Cheetah. Wonder Woman is seeking her help in tracking down Themyscira – her home.
The fact that - in this first volume - Steve Trevor has been given such a prominent role, and is already locked in as Wonder Woman’s love interest, no tentative dancing-around-each-other required, could hint that this series very much wants to tie into the movie-verse.
The art also gives some indication that DC is trying to keep the Wonder Woman brand closely aligned: Liam Sharp has drawn a gritty, detailed world that fits the DC movie-verse aesthetic, and Wonder Woman’s costume is also notable. The costuming in this new series seems to have been designed to resemble Gal Gadot’s get up, and has a distinctly more Amazonian, Ancient Greek vibe than her outfits in New 52.
Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of The Lies, is that in Rebirth Rucka seems to be making a real effort to convey what type of woman Diana is. She’s not just Wonder Woman; a symbol. She’s an individual. She’s flawed. She’s a fighter, but she believes in diplomacy. She is now a goddess of war, but she believes in compassion. She’s a complex character, and struggles and suffers emotionally as much as ol’ mate Batman (Bangst-man, am I right?).
With the release of the Wonder Woman film in a few weeks, there’s bound to be a renewed interest in her comic books. And now there’s a new series readers can start with afresh – that’s attempting to reconcile all the versions of Wonder Woman that have come before.
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