Release: December 2016
Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils & Inks: Bilquis Evely
So we have an interlude today about the origins of Barbara Ann Minerva, also known as the Cheetah, as Rucka’s whole run up to this point has been about turning her into a sympathetic character to stand beside Diana both in the present and in the past. I was really looking forward to this comic, and honestly it’s pretty good, but this is the most fill-in of fill-in issues, and thus even less happens in it than in a normal modern comic. It’s really pretty though. And I’d love to see a miniseries built out of this comic, honestly.
We start with Barbara Ann Minerva, exuberant child, who dreams of myths even though her father disapproves, and grows in six pages into the kind of woman who will actively go to seek out the reality of those myths against the pressures of all the men around her. She’s tough, she’s funny, she can speak a dozen languages and drink men under the table. She’s basically Lara Croft and that’s awesome. I would love to just hang with her, honestly.
She’s looking for evidence of the Amazons, who are a mix of bad ancient history and myth just like in the real world, but she has an idea that there might be a way to get a bead on where they are. During their digs, she stumbles across a tomb to an Amazon queen, able only to take a few blurry photos of some of the writing and inscriptions on the tomb before a cave in crushes the entire dig site. The rest of her crew, all men, think she’s making up what she saw to get them to continue what is clearly a futile effort. She’s left on her own, with only scraps to go on.
Barbara Ann pieces together a rough idea of the Amazon language from the photos she took, and notices that the decorations she made note of seem to actually be a map of constellations. She begins a journey across the world, looking for where the star chart might have pointed her, only to be discourages at every turn. It seems that not only is it not enough information to go on, but she might actually be going in the wrong direction along the path the Amazons took across the world in antiquity. Just as important, though, Athena herself disguised as an old woman manages to direct Barbara Ann away from the path she was following (which would have led to the Bana, who are splinter Amazons that we’ll get to in due time in volume 2’s comics), towards an abandoned island that looks a whole lot like Themyscira but appears deserted. The comic ends with Barbara Ann, alone, discouraged.
If it sounds like there isn’t a lot here, that’s because there isn’t. It’s a real shame, because I like the story this comic sets up a lot, but honestly, it’s mostly just table setting. I don’t know if they plan to return to this story or if it’ll get picked up in the even-numbered year one storyline, but either way I want more of Barbara Ann’s globe trotting Amazon hunting adventures, please!