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With Wonder Woman #14, writer Greg Rucka and artist Nicola Scott conclude their “Year One” arc, and as they have with each instalment prior, absolutely nail retelling Diana’s early days in Man’s World and her debut as Wonder Woman. It’s an absolutely stellar conclusion to an arc that succeeding in embracing a classical approach to the hero without feeling dated or stale; rather Rucka and Scott manage to distill the character down to her essence, clarifying her as a symbol of the power of truth and sacrifice and determination.
Rucka has long had a real skill at writing female action heroes. He doesn’t fall over himself trying to make them “strong” or “badass”. I think he just has the confidence to write them as fully fleshed out people, not treat them as a puzzle to be figured out or approached. Whatever he does, his Diana comes across as a real person, hard and tough when necessary, vulnerable and human when called for, funny when she needs to be, caring over all.
In this issue, Diana faces her first huge test as Ares, God of War, is revealed as the architect of the threat she faces and the reason for her mission in Man’s World. Rucka and Scott have delivered an action-packed issue that rockets from set piece to set piece, but never leaves characterization behind, using the slugfest to reveal who Wonder Woman is and further define her relationship with Steve.
Scott’s artwork on Wonder Woman #14 is great, and I love the way she renders Wonder Woman. Diana looks exotic and beautiful, and even in a costume that can so often be ridiculous, Scott manages to make it make sense and even seem kind of powerful. Most of all, Diana looks like a real woman, not some generic super-model. There’s a character to her face that gives her ore personality than many artists ops for for Wonder Woman and therefore gives the character a wider range than just beauty or determination. That being said, Scott doesn’t skimp when it comes to action scenes. Set pieces of Diana battling Ares and her subsequent attempts to prevent mass destruction are depicted with energy and scale, resulting in the kind of wide-screen spectacle worthy of the icon.
This series under Rucka and his rotating team of collaborators (notably including Scott) has earned a ton of critical and popular acclaim, and it has deserved every bit of it. Under this creative team, Wonder Woman has delivered large-scale action and adventure that also doesn’t fail to enlarge the character and her mythos for the modern age. Wonder Woman #14 is a fantastic issue, a great conclusion to the “Year One” arc, and an issue that continues to build upon the series’ reputation as one of DC’s strongest titles. 9/10