several years, I find Greg Rucka’s take on WW overrated
June 29, 2012
By Avi Green
In the past decade, I may have thought positively of the pretentious
Greg Rucka’s run on Wonder Woman (though I certainly did drop it
wisely around the time Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis were
vomited out by DC editorial). Over the years however, as my opinions
evolve and I try to better my directions, I have looked again at
what material I still have of his run, and my opinions have changed.
His run began on issue 195 of the 2nd volume in late 2003 with WW
putting together a book of her opinions on life and how it could be
led, and at the same time hiring a would-be law expert named Jonah
McCarthy to work at the Themysciran embassy.
The book Diana of Themyscira writes causes quite a bit of
controversy in the public, and draws the attention of an alleged
family group advocate who’s actually working for Veronica Cale, the
co-chairwoman of a pharmaceutical development firm in Texas, who
hates the Amazonian princess because she supposedly hasn’t ever
worked seriously, and wants to destroy her publicly.
The story does have some left-wing leanings littered around, but
there is also some very embarrassingly bad characterization of WW to
accompany it too. Including how, after receiving word of a forest
fire not far from a neighborhood where she’s supposed to give a book
signing, she goes there to deal with it, but while she is concerned
about the state of any nearby houses, she objects to the Flash using
his power to extinguish the fire, arguing that it should be allowed
to burn within a limited area just so that the forest can pick up
and grow again from there. All without any point made that she
doesn’t have authority to decide what forest fires can be kept
burning in controlled levels, and the Flash doesn’t even try to
argue seriously! This little chit-chat between them is filmed by
some civilian enemies of WW’s, who splice the recording to blot out
the better parts of her dialogue and an attempt is made to use it
against her. It doesn’t work, but that aside, the story in itself
was ridiculous and didn’t portray Diana very flatteringly.
And the way Cale is set up as an adversary is
absurd. After abducting an employee who leaked info about her plans
to defame Diana, she tells her hostage (whom she later poisons to
death) that her mother, a native of northern Florida, had spent time
working as a stripper in a dance hall in Texas, for an audience
mostly consisting of rich oil men, including one whom she ended up
having an affair with that led to Veronica’s birth. Guess what? The
oil baron she’d had a tryst with wouldn’t marry her or pay any child
support, and when she was trying to persuade him, he smacked her to
let her know his answer was no.
It was only then that she took to working at housecleaning to help
support young Veronica. Frankly, what I don’t get is: why she didn’t
think of that before? She says her mother couldn’t find a decent
job, but housecleaning is about as decent as one can get, so it only
ends up hard to swallow. She ends up falling ill during Veronica’s
teen years, and even after daughter blackmails her illegitimate
father into paying the money for healthcare for her ailing mother,
it’s just too late, and she passes on 2 years after. Veronica goes
onto college, working in computer game designing (which honestly
sounds contrived), and uses this to finance her own medicine
And yet this Cale harbors an illogical, irrational hatred of WW for
reasons still not entirely clear. She also claims herself as an
alleged patriot after she helps the resurrected Medusa make her way
to the White House in hopes of turning WW to stone. Did I mention
the jaw-dropping lapse in logic when, as Medusa first breaks into
Cale’s office building, she turns a security guard to stone by
staring at him through a closed-circuit camera (this also happens
when she enters the White House), yet when Cale stares at her
through a mirror and the fight with WW in a stadium later on is
broadcast to the world live on television, neither Cale nor anybody
else is turned into granite?
Greg Rucka once said he wanted to make Cale a variant on Lex Luthor
as a leading adversary. But when the Countdown crossover (and
Villains United) came into effect, this whole plan was abandoned.
Not that it would have worked well to begin with if Cale was going
to be characterized with such a ridiculous “right-wing” persona.
He didn’t do the Greek pagans any favors either when, after Medusa
turned the son of Peter Garibaldi, WW’s public affairs director,
into stone: Hera, who’d already pulled a most absurd act after she
knocked Themyscira onto Earth doing a lot of damage and injuring a
number of civilians visiting, came and told Diana that the son’s
transformation into rock was justified.
And Rucka destroyed things even further when he took part in the
storyline that saw WW breaking the neck of Max Lord, who’d been
subject of lurid character assassination in the Countdown prelude
that saw Ted Kord, the Iron Age Blue Beetle, slain in a bloody mess.
All because – get this – Max, as out-of-character as he was being
written, was controlling Superman’s mind forcing him to rampage, and
she wanted to stop this! Just what’s so wrong with that, save for
the misuse of Max Lord?
In the end, what Rucka did was just so numbingly wrongheaded that
it’s not worth reading again. He’s mostly departed from DC
contributions, and I’d say it’s just as well. He was pretty
overrated to begin with.
Copyright 2012 Avi Green. All rights reserved.
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