Good news for comic fans: even if you’re stuck indoors, DC Universe features an archive of over 23,000 comics! With so many places to curl up and lose yourself in the throes of an epic saga, it can be difficult to choose where to even begin. If inspiration is what you’re after, the best series to start with may just be the landmark three-year run on Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka. Allow us to extoll the wonders you have in store…
Since the day Wonder Woman first stepped off Paradise Island, her role in the unfamiliar world of man was to be an ambassador on behalf of her people: one who could reconcile with the world which had changed so drastically without them, and one which could benefit from the firm but compassionate ideals of the Amazon people. Hot off the success of his graphic novel Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, Greg Rucka was granted tenure on the ongoing Wonder Woman series in 2004 -- and used that platform to define that role for Wonder Woman in a whole new way. Themyscira, after all, is an established presence in the DC Universe. Why shouldn’t it have a LITERAL ambassador? In this three-year run from issues #194-226, that’s exactly what Rucka proposed.
As ambassador with an established headquarters that anyone can visit, Wonder Woman opens herself up to the public in a way that no other A-list hero has ever been available before. But with increased availability also comes new threats: in addition to new assaults from established foes out of Greek mythology and her own history, Diana is forced to reckon with the perils of public life. Can the champion of truth made her voice heard over the cult of personality which surrounds her? She’ll find that it takes more than a magic lasso to pull her way through to understanding.
REASONS TO BINGE
* ROLE FOR DIPLOMACY: wonder why a Super Hero’s first impulse is always to solve a problem with their fists? Rucka’s Wonder Woman shows us a different way, in a hero who seeks to solve problems by fostering understanding, spreading positive messages, leading by example, and doing everything she can to help.
* EPIC SHOWDOWNS: Even with all that in mind, Wonder Woman is still the baddest boss around when it’s time to throw down. Whether it’s Medusa, The Joker, or even a bloodthirsty Superman, Wonder Woman always surprises by proving she’s capable of extremes where no other hero is bold enough to go.
* THE PRICE OF FAME: Unlike most Justice League caliber heroes, the Wonder Woman of this time has no secret identity. As an ambassador of truth, Diana is always open to the people… and that often puts her at a disadvantage, making her a target to villains, bad press, and unwanted attention which distracts from her mission. But in the pursuit of truth as an ideal, is it all worth it? For a time, perhaps… but that could all change in an instant when the public is motivated to turn against you.
* A BULL IN A CHINA CABINET: One of the biggest scene-stealers through Rucka’s Wonder Woman saga is Ferdinand, a bull-headed minotaur- sorry, kythotaur- who’s put his mazerunning days behind him and now works full-time as personal chef to Wonder Woman and the Themysciran embassy, offering sage advice alongside sage-garnished delicacies. If you’ve been keeping up with modern Justice League comics and are curious about the bull-headed cafeteria worker who doles out food at the League mess hall and barbecues, this is his origin story!
WHY IT’S SATISFYING
Rucka’s Wonder Woman represents the character at perhaps the highest point in her personal arc. She’s a hero to the people, who uses all of her talents from sheer power to raw charisma in pursuit of the vision of a paradise not just for her island, but for the world as a whole. If you’ve ever wanted to see what Wonder Woman looks like at the top of her game, pursuing her mission on precisely her own terms, then this is the series to read. Rucka’s Wonder Woman is all about what makes Wonder Woman… Wonder Woman.
WHAT COMES NEXT?
When discussing the greatest Wonder Woman runs of all time, Rucka’s is usually mentioned in the same breath as the run by Gail Simone from issues #14-44 of Diana’s next series, some years later. It was Gail who once said that “when you need to stop a war, you call Wonder Woman”; but it was Rucka’s stories which cemented that ideal in the 21st century.
About a decade after his first run, Greg Rucka returned to Wonder Woman for a 25 issue series, interweaving tales from the modern day and Diana’s earliest missions into the world of man. And while that series may certainly be enjoyed on its own, it’s all the richer as a thematic evolution of the character work Rucka had laid down ten years before. Take it from Homer: when you’re in the mood for an epic, you gotta go Greek.