Written by: Greg Rucka
Art by: Bilquis Evely, Romulo Fajardo Jr, Jodi Wynne
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: October 12, 2016
I am never one to invite a break in the flow of our regular stories, but Greg Rucka has set that up as an intrinsic part of his Wonder Woman run already. So, this week's Barbara Minerva "interlude" shouldn't come as a shock and if you ask me, Rucka has already earned the right to know what's right for his book and show us all just how right he is. It's easy for me to say all this because I am a Barbara Minerva/Cheetah fan and really am excited to see this origin story. So, is it as good as I hoped? Let's find out...
The issue begins with a little peek into the world of a young Barbara Minerva. Before even getting our feet set in the story, we are introduced to Barbara's father who is strict to point of being very close to cruel and Barbara who thrives on fantasy, much to her father's chagrin. It is quite a difference to what we saw when Barbara showed up in the Year One story a couple of issues ago. It's easy to see why the transition occurred because the scene ends by showing us when it did as well.
We then travel ahead in time to see a mid twenties Barbara at a dig site in the Ukraine. She's involved in a debate about the validity of Amazonians and she falls squarely on the "they exist" part of it all. The thing I liked about this scene the most is that Greg Rucka's dialogue makes it so believable and really shows Barbara's strength, intelligence and determination.
That all comes into play as she takes a midnight stroll into the excavation site and stumbles upon stone cold proof of the Amazons being real. Unfortunately, fate is not on her side and a landslide covers it all leaving Barbara shocked, but with a phone picture to begin proving her thesis.
After a weird bit where it appears that certain people don't want Barbara getting any closer to what she seeks, she heads off on an adventure that puts Indiana Jones to shame. In Tunisia, she meets up with some old friends who just happen to be dead and then is pushed in another direction by someone whose real identity is easy to guess. By itself, it may be a little confusing, but if you've been reading the Rebirth Wonder Woman story, it will make more sense.
The issue ends with Barbara chartering a boat in the Black Sea and just as we are lead to believe she has achieved her goal, she is left lost and all alone. It all ends with a look at a familiar black tree that hasn't been the sign of good fortune in the past.
Okay, if you are looking for the definitive origin of Barbara Minerva/Cheetah here, you will certainly leave disappointed. If you are fine with seeing the origins of Barbara's mindset and history of her Amazonian obsession, then this is more up your alley. I will admit that on first reading, I was confused and a bit disappointed, but the more I thought of it all, the more I saw it as another piece of the whole puzzle. Greg Rucka has been using each issue to build the overall narrative and this continues the trend.
When I heard that Bilquis Evely was doing the art here, I was intrigued, but as a big Nicola Scott fan, I was also worried. Boy, I'm no longer worried at all! Evely's art is awesome and I'd go as far as saying that I like it a bit more than Scott's. A day ago, I would have called that blasphemy, but now it's just the truth.
Bits and Pieces:
While I am curious to see how others feel about this issue, I liked it as another piece of the larger puzzle that is Greg Rucka's Wonder Woman story. This issue falls somewhere between Year One and the Lies, yet sheds light on both stories. I loved the art and the ending left me wanting a lot more which I think was Greg Rucka's plan in the first place. Mission accomplished!