The Wonder Woman film has been met with a wide array of praise and criticism. Almost all of it has been entirely earned. A powerful depiction of powerful women that doesn’t break too much from the recent superhero mould, the movie is at once inspiring and underwhelming, and I say this as someone who’s seen it three times. But one of the criticisms that stood out for me was the amount of time dedicated to Diana’s love interest and (arguably) co-protagonist of the film, Steve Trevor. A somewhat condescending-yet-
smirkworthy companion, Chris Pine’s Steve seems to occupy just a bit too much time and take a lion’s share of the heroics (adventures into No Man’s Land notwithstanding).
Variant cover for Wonder Woman: Steve Trevor by Yannick Paquette.
So, in an effort to capitalize on Trevor’s heightened popularity from the film, DC has released Wonder Woman: Steve Trevor, an annual pointed squarely at people who liked Wonder Woman who aren’t really interested in Diana (or the three other origin stories about her published in the past 18 months). DC also wanted to include the three new characters from the film (Sameer, Charlie and Dapi) but needed a way to hammer them into the current Rebirth continuity. Enter Steve Trevor on a mission that reunites him with his old friends. And while they may no longer be the heroes of World War I, they are essentially the same characters with a bit more modern clothing.
I’ll admit: seeing these characters again was delightful. Each one was so wonderfully acted in the film and their Band of Brothers sort of relationship made it simply nice to see them again. But beyond their presence, the story offers little to readers, new or old. While I understand that capitalizing on Wonder Woman’s success means one-offs like this, it’s hard to see it beyond its hand-sell potential. An approach to storytelling based on “Oh, you saw the movie and like her merry band of war heroes? Well try this, it has a bunch of the same characters.”
This is where Tim Seeley’s writing style, something I don’t usually care for, works. Seeley’s writing is purpose-first. Many of his plots feel like they were dictated by producers (or, in the case of comics, editors) and his writing often feels like he was left to fill in the blanks with some snappy dialogue and action. Certainly, that’s what happened here, with an annual that acts at once as a wishful thinking aside for the movie and an adjacent story to Rebirth. It's one last ride, the story of Steve and the band getting back together that could never happen given Steve's fate in the film, sort of sideways stare into the film that does away with the woman that managed to make them all a little less dysfunctional.
Unfortunately, the soldier
buddy buddy aesthetic lacks any real depth and reveals little else about the characters. We are expected to be joyful at the mere appearance of familiar faces, but
otherwise the story lacks any real sense of purpose. This is not to say that the story isn’t fun but I hardly think anyone will remember it after they finish either.
Unsurprisingly as well, the book fares better when Diana is around, either in Steve’s internal monologue or actually being physically present. Diana here has replaced the movie’s “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” enthusiasm for confidence and experience, and her meta bantering with Steve is as much a highlight as the appearance of Steve’s war buddies. It made me long for a story about Diana told from Steve’s perspective rather than an aside with her as a framing device.
tl;dr review: Wonder Woman: Steve Trevor is a fun, light romp that is easily forgettable. It boasts some fantastic visuals but exists largely to introduce movie characters into Rebirth, with little weight or consequence.