Wonder Woman #750 creators preview their timeless Cheetah story
Two years ago, DC Comics celebrated Superman’s 80th birthday with Action Comics #1000, a super-sized anthology issue featuring multiple different writers and artists reflecting on the Man of Steel’s legacy; among other stories, it featured the beginning of former Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis’ celebrated run on the character. It also came up with multiple variant covers, the most astounding of which was illustrated by Nicola Scott and displayed all of Superman’s different looks over the years. The whole project was so successful that a year later DC did it again with Detective Comics #1000, celebrating Batman’s 80th birthday with another Bendis story and another great cover by Scott.
Unfortunately for those who love parallels, 2020 doesn’t mark the 80th anniversary of Wonder Woman (that would be next October), nor does she have a 1000-issue series like Detective Comics or Action Comics to commemorate. But DC’s top three superheroes are referred to as a “trinity” for a reason, and so Wonder Woman is getting her own super-sized anthology treatment in this week’s Wonder Woman #750, which finally allows Scott to unveil her corresponding portrait of Wonder Woman through the years.
“The first time I did it, for Action, the idea came from this Australian retailer, King Comics, who were booking it as a retailer exclusive. DC approached them and they approached me about doing this idea. The retailer liked it so much that they talked about doing it again for Detective. Once I’d done the Batman one, I was like, well I can’t just do these boys and not do Wonder Woman. I had to complete the trinity,” Scott tells EW. “Because I’m thinking as I drew each character, which Wonder Woman would I use for this decade? How would I portray this?”
Beyond the cover, Scott also illustrates an 11-page story within the issue. Titled “Never Change,” it features a timeless encounter between Wonder Woman and two other characters who have been some of her biggest foes and best friends: Cheetah and Circe. The story is written by Greg Rucka, with whom Scott collaborated on Wonder Woman during the DC Rebirth initiative in 2016. Back then, two issues of Wonder Woman were coming out each month, so Rucka had to split his story between two artists who would alternate issues. While Scott illustrated a “Year One” story about Wonder Woman’s origin, Liam Sharp illustrated a present-day struggle with Cheetah. “Never Change” combines the two, finally allowing Scott to draw Cheetah.
“Nicola did this beautiful job on the revised, everything-but-the-origin Cheetah story with Barbara Ann. Because of the constraints of the book at the time and schedule, we never were able to do the actual origin story,” Rucka says. “So when I was approached about doing a story for #750 with Nicola drawing…I think I called Nic, as I often do, and I said, ‘so I’m gonna write you this great big sappy Valentine of a story. I love working with you on Wonder Woman, so here’s some stuff we never got to do.'”
“Never Change” isn’t the only Cheetah-focused story in Wonder Woman #750. At the beginning of the issue, writer Steve Orlando and artist Jesus Merino conclude “The Wild Hunt” arc that has been dominating the series for the past few months. In order to distinguish them, “Never Change” opens with the clarification “This Story Takes Place Later.” Reminiscent of Alan Moore’s iconic opening line to his Superman comic “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” (“This is an imaginary story. Aren’t they all?”), it makes “Never Change” more of an eternal story about the dynamic between Wonder Woman and Cheetah, and what Diana is willing to do for her friends, than a story set at a specific moment in time.
Speaking of time, a lot has changed in just the few years since Rucka and Scott last worked on Wonder Woman comics together. Most obviously, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman film made more than $800 million worldwide and interested a whole new generation of fans in the Amazing Amazon. “Year One” made a perfect gateway comic recommendation for newly-minted Wonder Woman fans after the movie. Based on trailers, Rucka and Scott’s take appears to have a strong stylistic influence on this year’s sequel Wonder Woman 1984 — which is also set to feature Kristen Wiig as Cheetah.
“It’s interesting to look at trailers for Wonder Woman 1984 already, because they’re very clearly using Nic’s design for Barbara Ann, they’re very clearly using the mall shooting sequence from ‘Year One,'” Rucka says. “They are very clearly using the Year One work we did pretty extensively. That speaks to the strength of what Nicola created visually.”
For her part, Scott adds, “They’ve taken a lot of inspiration from Greg’s attitude toward the character.”
Given the renewed interest around the character, Rucka and Scott are hopeful but realistic about their chances of writing and drawing Wonder Woman again.
“I’ve easily got another 500 stories I can tell, I’m not exaggerating, about Diana or the things around her: Themyscira, Cheetah, Circe,” Rucka says. “One of the treats of doing the #750 story was I got to go back and do more with Circe, which was something I didn’t get to on that run. I have a vision and a take for that character, but as with all things in comics, you’re limited by time and you’re limited by space. There are always gonna be more stories I would love to tell about Diana and those around her, but one of the things I was aware of when I was writing #750 is that in a lot of ways this is probably the last time I’m writing her. I’m 50, and I’ve gotten lots of bites at the DC apple. There’s a good argument to be made that it’s time for new voices to come in and re-examine and re-articulate this character. As much as I try to be self-aware and aware of my limitations, at the end of the day I’m another white guy who’s writing Wonder Woman. Maybe we’ve got enough of that. Maybe it’s time for me to sit down.”
For now, though, Rucka and Scott have one more treat for fans. “I urge people to pay careful attention to all the pillows on the hotel room bed when Circe flops on it. I had a couple in-jokes written there, and then as always happen with Nicola, I make a suggestion and she comes back and has exponentially exploded it. There are all sorts of little easter eggs that Nicola pretty clearly had a blast playing with.”
Wonder Woman #750 hits stores this week. Check out exclusive preview pages above.