Coinciding with the release of the new movie, DC has very smartly released Wonder Woman Annual #1 this week to capitalize on all the buzz surrounding their premiere super heroine.
This book contains four stories cataloging the adventures of Wonder Woman.
The first, by Greg Rucka, Nicola Scott, and Romulo Fajardo Jr., shows the first time Wonder Woman encountered Superman and Batman. The second, by Vita Ayala, Claire Roe, and Jordie Bellaire, is an episode of the Amazonian Princess intervening on behalf of King Shark, whom is set to be executed by the Markovian government. The third, by Michael Moreci and Stephanie Hans, meeting with a warrior who is attempting to protect his village from a deadly curse. The last, by Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, and John Rauch, has our heroine defending a coastal city from a giant monster.
All four stories gel really well. There's not one that is particularly weak, and each brings something a little different to the table. The first is a humorous first meeting between DC's Trinity, the second shows the complexities of justice, the third shows the tribulations of duty, and the last is actually pretty heartwarming and is my personal favorite.
The Rucka's story brings something a little too uncommon to the character of Batman; it actually gives him a sense of humor and is willing to put a little egg on his face. That was a genuine breath of fresh air, as too often is this character's figurative ego fed by making him the humorless and infallible.
As previously stated, the last story brings a bit of warmth to the proceedings, with Wonder Woman using her lasso to learn the language of the kaiju to communicate with it and learn its origins. I won't give the rest of the tale away, but it is a pretty sweet ending. Unfortunately, the art in this tale is the weakest, with a style that is very undetailed, figures that are too lanky, and too much bloom. The aesthetics are aided by the fact that the story is lighthearted enough to compliment them, but it still doesn't look that great.
In terms of art, Scott's and Hans' stands out to me the most. Nicola Scott brought some strong art to the series, and Stephanie Hans' work has a painted feel to it and is very unique.
Beyond the art in the final tale being lackluster, there is very little to criticize in this Annual. It's fun, warm, and manages to stray from the expected tropes of stories like this. Wonder Woman Annual #1 comes highly recommended.