The first story arc of “Wonder Woman”, “The Lies”, comes to an end in “Wonder Woman” #11. Read on for our review but be warned, there are spoilers as there is a lot to examine here.
Written by Greg Rucka
Illustrated by Liam Sharp and Laura Martin
“THE LIES” part six! In the conclusion to this epic tale, the lie is revealed as Wonder Woman returns to Themyscira in the company of Steve Trevor to find that nothing has changed—and everything is wrong.
With Rebirth, many characters have had a chance to return to the basics and be the characters that fans fell in love with. Of all the big name heroes that saw their books relaunched, Wonder Woman has arguably gained the most from this, with Superman in a close second. “Wonder Woman”, despite shipping bi weekly, has been consistently good and this first story arc has attempted to turn everything we know about Diana on its head. “The Lies” played its cards close to the chest but “Wonder Woman” #11 blows all that up. It’s a bold choice but this creative team has not been anything less than that since the first issue.
“Wonder Woman” #11, as mentioned, marks the end of “The Lies” story arc. Wonder Woman, accompanied with Steve Trevor, finally makes it home but something is wrong. Everything feels off but Steve is the first to notice it. Meanwhile, Etta is back home dealing with a huge new problem involving Sasha. Not everything is what seems to be in “Wonder Woman” anymore.
“Wonder Woman” #11 will be talked about for the last few pages but before getting into that, I think it’s worth noting that this issue is much more than that. Each page and development has had a purpose. Each character has had a purpose and while Diana’s return home is the core of this, the subplot involving Etta and Sasha is just as important. This subplot, like the main story of Diana’s memory, has been constructed excellently and it gives the book more meat as the supporting characters are given an important role in everything. Each move Rucka makes is deliberate and combines with the last couple of pages, I’m eager to see what the pay off here will be.
The last couple of pages of “Wonder Woman” #11 are really what you’re here for so let’s get into it. Once Wonder Woman begins to realize that something is wrong, she is struck by what is actually going on. It turns out that when she left Themyscira the first time, each time she’s been back has been some kind of illusion or simulation. She has never actually been back to Themyscira and this is what you’d call a mic drop. It’s a bold reveal that is something that probably only Greg Rucka could get away with. Each move has been planned out specifically and it all makes more sense next to the “Year One” storyline. Diana was told that she could never go back home if she left and Rucka has taken this very seriously. The last few years of continuity are potentially thrown out the window and it allows Rucka to rebuild from the ground up, but what’s unclear is the extent of that. Was the entire Azzarello/Chiang storyline just retconned? If it is, what is Wonder Woman’s history since the launch of the New 52? This revelation comes with more questions than answers but that’s kind of the exciting part.
It’s tough to say at this point whether this is a good twist or a bad twist because there’s nothing else yet. It’s bold and it’s kind of clever but whether the story that follows is good is still completely up in the air. Superhero comic books have always been written very fluidly. Continuity has never mattered as much to creators as it has to fans. When a new creative team comes in, they create their own story while upholding certain characteristics and the pieces of history that matter to the story they want to tell. Rucka is doing exactly that with his script and years after this, someone else will do the same. If anything, this twist lives up to the idea of a rebirth and the way it’s built up packs a punch. A good twist makes sense and doesn’t sacrifice the rest of the story being told. That twist does this because there have been hints throughout, I just didn’t see them until now.Continued below
Liam Sharp’s art, because he’s drawing Wonder Woman, has been analyzed in great detail. I believe he’s done some great work on the series with colorist Laura Martin and this issue is a good example of his range. In the Etta/Sasha subplot, Sharp plays around with bigger concepts that touch on sci fi. I enjoy his character renderings and these scenes, there are a lot of effective closeups with subtle glances that capture a level of mistrust and skepticism. Etta knows that something is up and Sharps draws her in a way that lets us in on that while not giving away too much from Sasha’s point of view. It’s the kind of thing that takes years of work to really master and while at times, Sharp’s characters can be a little cold, these pages are strong. The action here flows really nicely and there’s a level of danger and a great building of anticipation.
When we get into the later parts of the issue, Sharp and Martin are tasked with making the reader feel something. Revelations like this can live and die by the way it looks. After all, this is a comic book, the visuals matter tremendously. As we start to see that something is wrong in Themyscira, things get progressively darker. Juxtaposed to what Nicola Scott is doing, Themyscira doesn’t have the same charm or wonder. Martin’s colors get darker and more severe and Sharp’s characters don’t have the same kind of welcoming feeling they once had. There’s a sense of doom lingering in the air and it’s hard not to notice it when Martin is doing such great, moody work. Her colors here take on a tragic feel with darker skies tinged with pink that feel stormy. Sharp brings heavy emotion to Wonder Woman in particular as she takes on this panicked look as it all dawns on her. This is Wonder Woman losing the thing that matters most and Sharp makes sure that feel it with her visibly breaking down as the lie is revealed to her. It’s not exaggerated and becomes powerful.
Final Verdict: 8.2 – A very bold move by a bold creative team but it’s still unclear if this will pay off.