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Wonder Woman #198

Posted: Friday, November 21, 2003
By: Ray Tate



"Down to Earth" Part Three

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artists: Drew Johnson(p), Ray Snyder(i), Richard & Tanya Horie(c)
Publisher: DC

Rucka's Wonder Woman continues the smart reclamation of the legend. Last issue, readers learned that weaponsmith Io encountered Ares who blessed a weapon so that it would not disappear--a curse that Rucka explains in dialogue this issue. Now, she doesn't do something mind-numbingly stupid like keeping this encounter secret. She instead reports the strange occurrence to Archons Artemis and Phillipus, who now govern Themyscira (Paradise Island.)

The plot thread segues nicely to Ares stirring up trouble in Olympus. This is not however the rather bull in a china shop approach with which some readers will be familiar. His methods are given a subtle Rucka twist.

The more deific slice of life draws the reader back to New York where Diana's staff plots against her enemies. These scenes beautifully contrast their every day goodness and loyalties against Diana's nobility. Diana would be up front about her opinions, but the staff goes behind her back to protect her interests.

Diana meanwhile intends to reacquaint with an old friend. Rucka here especially shows what is needed to make Wonder Woman stronger. He does not assume readers have followed any of the previous Wonder Woman eras. He builds suspense regarding Diana's friend, and while a long time reader may feel the full impact of this friend's plight, a new reader will still get the gist of the subplot. The way Drew Johnson completes the camera angles set up by Mr. Rucka exudes drama and as a result creates a sensation no matter if the reader happens to know the friend's history with Diana or when the transformation of this friend occurred.

Continuity cops while easing up on their batons cannot release their grips. It's stated that Diana has been around for "decades." Historically, it's been about sixty years. This post-Crisis model however has not even existed for two decades. Something must go. Me, I'm prejudicial. I don't like the post-Crisis. It's the evil Siamese twin that you would shackle and secret in the attic under lock and key. I'm quite willing to accept that this Wonder Woman is the only Wonder Woman. I'll be happy to ignore Hippolyta's stint as Wonder Woman since it never made any sense.

Artemis given her history and design appears and acts way out of character, but quite frankly, I like the new Artemis, and you can easily rationalize her happier station because of a fondness she has developed for her new position as Archon. Mr. Rucka does not flatly deny any continuity. He simply does not emphasize it, and that makes Wonder Woman a far smoother read.



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