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Full disclosure: before this issue, I had never read a Wonder Woman comic before. My only experience with the character comes from one trade of Justice League and the way Gal Gadot plays her in Batman v Superman.
Appropriate, then, that I start on an issue that focuses on communication and misunderstanding.
This issue opens with Diana and Steve Trevor on the invisible jet. Steve doesn’t speak Themiscyran, and Diana doesn’t speak English. They land, and eventually make their way back to Trevor’s naval base. Once there, we meet Lt. Etta Candy and a selection of naval personnel. A doctor exclaims that Trevor’s appendix has grown back. They put Diana in the brig while they figure out what to do with her. Trevor asks her to trust him, and she speaks enough English to tell him she does.
That night, Trevor brings the news of her husband’s death to a woman named Maya. It provides some emotional heft to Trevor’s character outside of Diana, which is always good to have for a love interest. Meanwhile, a group of animals visit Diana in her cell.
The next morning, after an expert on Ancient Greek fails to communicate with Diana, we meet Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva. Minerva figures out how to speak to Diana in her own language, but when Diana claims that the gods visited her, Minerva doesn’t believe her. The issue ends with Diana, upset by constant inability to communicate, somewhat accidentally breaks open her cell. She tells Minerva, Trevor, and Candy “They gave me gifts,” and Minerva admits she stands corrected.
My favorite part of that scene is the look on Trevor’s face when she breaks open her cell. He shows no fear, instead looking at her with, well, wonder. He believes in her, already, despite the language barrier.
I really, really like the way this issue frames problems of communication. People don’t respond to Diana with condescension; they can’t understand her language, so they look for someone who does. Everyone treats her with respect, even when Minerva can’t believe her talk of the gods in animal form.
I also really love the sense of utter innocence in Diana. She has a childlike purity to her, and a willingness to find joy wherever she can. She takes pictures happily with security officers on base, once they show her how the camera works. When she hears Minerva speak her language, her response is a wide smile and an avalanche of words Even when she feels fear and doubt in that cell, she mostly worries about that human connection. She wants, like anyone else, for people to understand her.
Overall, this Wonder Woman seems far removed from the one I know. She hasn’t seen the things Gal Gadot’s version of the character has. But I think there’s more than enough room for both stories in the world. In fact, I’m curious to see if any of this Wonder Woman will appear in next year’s movie! Since we’ll see Diana before humanity killed her hope, maybe we will.
Either way, I will definitely keep reading this comic, and highly recommend it to pretty much anybody else.