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Wonder Woman #220

Posted: Friday, September 23, 2005
By: Michael Bailey



"Affirmative Defense"

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artists: David Lopez (p), Bit (i)

Publisher: DC Comics


Plot: After killing Maxwell Lord, Wonder Woman not only has to deal with a series of disasters but the infiltration of her embassy as well. After dealing with that, she explains her actions to Batman. His reaction causes yet another rift in her life.

Commentary: Greg Rucka is one of my favorite writers in comics (and outside of comics as I really enjoyed three of the Atticus Kodiak novels), and this issue of Wonder Woman is one of the main reasons why.

I have written elsewhere that I agree with what Wonder Woman did to Max with all of my heart or as much of my heart as I can put into a fictional world. Even if I didn't, this issue might have turned my opinion. The title of the story says it all. Affirmative defense. Wonder Woman could honestly walk into any courtroom and be acquitted of all charges in the death of Maxwell Lord, especially in the DC Universe because her lawyer could easily bring up the defense that if Max had been allowed to live it might have been possible for Superman to lose control again. I don't think there is a jury that wouldn't buy into the fear that an out-of-control Superman entails.

But this story wasn't about the real life legal ramifications of Diana's actions. This story is about Wonder Woman explaining what she did to one of her closest allies. What makes Rucka such a great writer is that he was able to pull off that emotionally draining moment, play with another angle of a larger story he has written and carry along the subplots already established within the book all within the same issue. If you had just been reading Wonder Woman for the last few months and picked this book up you really didn't miss a whole lot, unlike having to read the entire "Sacrifice" storyline to understand everything that went on in The OMAC Project #4. You could have even skipped the Superman titles from last month and still pick this comic up and feel like you were getting the whole story.

(I'm not saying that Greg Rucka tying all of those books together to tell one large story was a bad thing. I like that type of thing and the fact that I collected all of those issues was a personal choice on my part. My point here is that you didn't have to buy all of them to enjoy this issue and I think that speaks volumes for Greg as a writer.)

The narrative flow of this story really impressed me. There were moments of high drama and then quiet moments of reflection. The fact that there was very little dialogue and the narration carried part of the emotional weight heightened all of the emotions Wonder Woman was feeling. From stopping a nuclear meltdown to confronting Jonah, Wonder Woman behaved like someone dealing with having made a difficult decision and that really came through in the writing.

The art was phenomenal as well. David Lopez and Bit carried the other part of the emotional weight. The art was soft and made you really take it in to get what Rucka was going for. From the look on Wonder Woman's face right after killing Max to the look on her face when she finishes her story, you really see what she's feeling inside. The final scene with Batman would not have worked as well without the style the art team brought to this issue.

Final Thoughts: As much as this issue worked on its own, it was also part of a larger story that has been the best DC has put out so far this year. The art and writing came together for a truly great read and the book really made you feel for Diana whether or not you agreed with what she did.



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