With Wonder Woman never being a hotter property then after the release of the movie starring Gal Gadot this is a good time to get back into the comics of said character. In order to try to get back into Wonder Woman after not connecting with her Rebirth’s ongoing title’s direction. The series telling two different stories gave off the vibe that the series was going to be better read in trade paperback format. All that said, Wonder Woman: Rebirth Annual #1 could be the best place to come back to a series I really enjoyed during the New 52. Will Wonder Woman: Rebirth Annual #1 do just that? Let’s find out now.
Writer: Greg Rucka (And Then There Were Three); Vita Ayala (In Defense Of Truth And Justice); Michael Moreci (The Curse And The Honor); Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing (The Last Kaiju)
Artist: Nicola Scott (And Then There Were Three); Claire Roe (In Defense Of Truth And Justice); Stephanie Hans (The Curse And The Honor); David LaFuente (The Last Kaiju)
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr. (And Then There Were Three); Jordie Bellaire (In Defense Of Truth And Justice); John Rauch (The Last Kaiju)
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
And Then There Were Three
In Metropolis, Lois Lane stops Clark Kent as everyone is watching Wonder Woman save the day on the big screens in the middle of the city. While Lois contacts Jimmy to go cover the story Clark continues to look at the footage.
In Gotham City, Batman returns to the Batcave after a night out and is welcomed back by Alfred. Batman sits down at his computer and sees the footage of Wonder Woman saving the day.
In San Diego, just as Lois and Jimmy enter the city to cover the Wonder Woman story, Superman also arrives and uses his powers to find out information on Wonder Woman.
Superman ends up flying to somewhere in Nevada where he meets up with Batman. Superman asks Batman if he has seen Wonder Woman yet. He says he hasn’t but knows she is not an alien as her armor is made out of terrestrial material, though her rope is different. Superman mentions that Wonder Woman is pretty though Batman says he hasn’t noticed.
Wonder Woman finally shows up and asks Batman and Superman why they are spying on her. She asks Batman and Superman who they are but they don’t understand the language she is speaking. Wonder Woman takes out her rope and tells the two to grab it.
Wonder Woman starts speaking English and both Wonder Woman and Superman reveal their real names while Batman says his name is “Batman.” Wonder Woman then says that her golden lasso reveal the truth of people’s intentions and the three of them are able to understand each other right now so they have no reason to fear her. Batman and Superman agree. Wonder Woman then takes back her lasso and flies off.
Superman comments that they just got interviewed, with Batman mentioning he hates magic. Superman asks Batman if he doesn’t believe she is the real deal. Batman says that is not what is bothering him as when he saw inside Wonder Woman’s heart it made him realize they have some catching up to do. End of story.
In Defense Of Truth And Justice
In Markovia, the government is holding a public execution for King Shark, who is chained up to the ground, for being found guilty of several murders, including a general. As the public throw trash on King Shark and the High Magistrate Aleksander Jansen orders his general to kill King Shark a woman jumps in front of King Shark to stop the execution.
The woman reveals that she was on hand to see that there was no way King Shark could’ve killed the general but she has no proof. Aleksander has some guards drag the woman away but as they do Wonder Woman arrives on the scene.
Wonder Woman reveals the Justice League sent her to investigate King Shark’s case as Markovia has broken their agreements. The general does not care what Wonder Woman has to say and has his soldier fire on Wonder Woman and King Shark.
Wonder Woman starts fighting through all of Markovia’s soldiers, with the woman from earlier motivating people to help Wonder Woman fight.
King Shark breaks free from his chains and as he is about to rampage through Markovia’s soldiers Wonder Woman stops him and wraps her lasso on him. King Shark reveals that he did not attack anyone and while he was swimming Markovian soldiers attacked him.
The Markovian general does not believe so but Wonder Woman says King Shark is telling the truth. Aleksander has the general arrested as a traitor, with the woman from earlier making the arrest. Aleksander thanks Wonder Woman and wonders what they should do with King Shark.
Later, Wonder Woman walks King Shark to the cliffside near the sea and says that there are other crimes King Shark must atone for. She then reveals Aquaman will help him atone for that and King Shark thanks Wonder Woman while walking towards Aquaman, who is waiting for him in the water. End of story.
The Curse And The Honor
In a snowy forest Wonder Woman fights Kikori, who Steve Trevor said was the greatest warrior he ever met. Wonder Woman and Kikori fight to a standstill and they both compliment each other’s skills.
Kikori then thanks Wonder Woman for coming to help his village that has been cursed with a vengeful spirit that he ended up absorbing the spirit to stop the threat. Kikori reveals that the reason he called for Wonder Woman’s help is to help lift the curse by killing him. Wonder Woman thinks there is another way but Kikori does not want to live with the curse anymore.
Kikori suddenly gets taken over by his curse and turns into big monster. Wonder Woman fights off the monstrous Kikori and tries to help him control the curse. Kikori suddenly starts running to the village. Wonder Woman quickly stops Kikori by stabbing him from behind.
Kikori transform back to his normal human form and collapses from his injuries. Kikori thanks Wonder Woman for breaking the curse and giving him a warrior’s death.
Later that night in Kikori’s village Wonder Woman helps the villagers host a funeral honoring Kikori’s death and how he brought the peace he dreamed for everyone. End of story.
The Last Kaiju
Somewhere near the Pacific Coast, Argus jets are deployed to fight a Kaiju. Wonder Woman flies in and says she’ll fight the Kaiju herself. The Kaiju swats Wonder Woman away. Wonder Woman recovers and quickly ties the Kaiju up with her lasso.
Wonder Woman asks the Kaiju why he is heading towards the city. The Kaiju reveals he has been alone since he was born and when he tried to search for companionship he was met by terror on the island he was on. He eventually felt he had no choice but to head towards the city.
Argus soldiers suddenly attack the Kaiju. Wonder Woman helps the Kaiju take on Argus but they are overwhelmed by their numbers. Wonder Woman decides to lift the Kaiju up and flies him away from the fight.
Wonder Woman takes the Kaiju to Dinosaur Island, where the Kaiju can interact with creatures his own size. Wonder Woman throws a tree and the Kaiju and a Brachiosaurus start happily playing with each other. End of issue.
The Good: Comic book annual issues are always a tricky beast for creative teams. Usually they either end up being quick stand alone stories or stories connected that are connected to the greater story being told in the main ongoing series. To Wonder Woman: Rebirth Annual’s credit it goes more towards the former by giving four different creative teams the opportunity to show what makes Wonder Woman special.
As someone who has not been buying the ongoing Wonder Woman series I very much appreciated this approach. Each creative team was given ten pages to tell the story they wanted to tell, making the time given fell much more focused in its storytelling. That focus in storytelling also made the dialogue of each story mean more.
At the same time each creative didn’t try to go overboard with dialogue to make up for not having an entire 23 page issue to tell their stories. Instead they all made sure they gave Wonder Woman and all the characters she interacted with the appropriate amount of dialogue to get over their personalities and the stories they were in. In doing so the interactions Wonder Woman had with everyone felt natural and never out of place for who that person was.
Of all the short stories we got my favorite was Michael Moreci and Stephanie Hans’ “The Curse And The Honor” was my personal favorite. The story got down to the heart of who Wonder Woman is as a person and warrior. Seeing Wonder Woman struggle to kill Kikori as she wanted to find another way did truly feel like a tough choice for her. In the end Wonder Woman choosing to do what Kikori wanted showed that she only kills when she knows there is no other way to end things. Stephanie Hans artwork for the last scene was a touching way to show what it meant to kill Kikori as Wonder Woman did not forget the true person Kikori was.
With Superman Reborn rewriting a lot of the history of this new DC Universe it was good to see Wonder Woman: Rebirth Annual help get over the new DCU timeline. With Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott’s story we got to see how the DCU Trinity really met was not when the Justice League formed but rather soon after Wonder Woman appeared. This choice in the meeting made the connection Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman have be much more special.
While it was a story of how the Trinity met, Rucka did a very good job in making it centered on Wonder Woman. Batman commenting to Superman that they have some catching up to do was a good way of showing that the two are still finding themselves as heroes and who they want to be. Whereas with Wonder Woman she is supremely confident in who she is and does not question anything about herself. That confidence shows how much the three do stand on a even ground and further pushes the idea that they are DC’s Trinity for a reason.
Nicola Scott did an equally strong job getting over how each of the Trinity present themselves. Scott’s especially did a good job getting over how this first meeting felt special with the big splash page when Wonder Woman finds Batman and Superman looking for her. That was followed by some great looking artwork that got over the light hearted nature of the three talking to each other, especially with how Batman did not give over his real name.
Vita Ayala’s story involving King Shark was a good way of exploring Wonder Woman fighting for fair judgement for everyone as the truth comes out. Seeing her stand-up for the long-time villain help show she won’t stand down to anyone and got across her fighting style while making sure King Shark didn’t get himself in actual trouble. That allowed King Shark to get some solid character development as Wonder Woman helped him find a way to atone for his actual crimes in a non-violent way that felt fair to the character.
It helps the story also featured solid artwork from Claire Roe who matched the tone of Ayala’s story. Though her King Shark wasn’t the greatest version of the character she did a very good job getting across Wonder Woman’s fighting style in the short fight sequence.
The final story involving Wonder Woman stopping a Kaiju from attacking a city was exactly what this issue needed after two drama heavy stories. It help end the Annual on a lighter note with Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing turning the typical Kaiju story around by giving it more heart as we find out the real reason the Kaiju was heading to the city. That reasoning allowed a character like the Kaiju monster we meet here to have some depth even though he is most likely a one-and-done character. David LaFuente further helped the short by making it feel like an anime cartoon with how he drew the story.
The Bad: Nothing
Overall: Wonder Woman: Rebirth Annual #1 was exactly what I wanted from the issue. Each creative team used their allotted time to deliver a Wonder Woman story that can stand on their own. The way they all maximized their time made the entire issue a great way to jump into the series for fans, especially those looking for a comic to buy following the release of the Wonder Woman movie.