With Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s title being so disconnected from the rest of the DCU, it’s weird to have an issue of ‘Wonder Woman’ that is related to the wider universe, but this was by John Ostrander, so it was pretty damn good. Even though Cheetah is currently a member of the team Ostrander is most famous for, the Suicide Squad, he avoids most of that team, and instead delves deeper into Cheetah’s origin, which was hinted at by Geoff Johns in the pages of Justice League.
In that arc, it was revealed that it wasn’t the magic knife that made Cheetah evil, but that Barbara Minerva was already a bad person before she got all catted up. Ostrander shows us Barbara’s origins, being raised in some weird cult that worshipped the Amazons and the Goddess Of The Hunt, and how Cheetah’s freaky Aunt made her hunt and kill her brother, which is all kinds of fucked up. A lot of these ‘terrible flashbacks’ in Villain’s Month have been boring and repetitive, but this one was nice and different.
In the present, Cheetah is hunting down her surviving family so she can move on from her past life, and with all of the superheroes ‘dead’, it’s left to another familiar character to hunt Cheetah down, Mark Shaw, who is one of the many Manhunters. In the New 52, Shaw is a US Marshal, and, so, despite not being a superhero yet, he’s already a manhunter. It was cool to see this character show up, and I’m interested to see where he’ll appear next, and how DC will streamline the complicated history of the Manhunter name.
This was a solid comic, but it doesn’t really fit with the way Wonder Woman is now, Azzarello and Chiang’s take is not a superhero book at all, and stuff like this and her role in Justice League seem odd to me now. But the art from Victor Ibanez was good, and it’s always good to see John Ostrander writing some DC villains, so it was worth it in that respect.